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JGLS Launches India's First 3-Year B.A. Hons. Programme In Legal Studies

Aasavari Rai
18 Oct 2019 11:35 AM GMT
JGLS Launches India
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On 17th October 2019, Jindal Global Law School launched the country's first 3-year B.A. Hons. programme in Legal Studies.

The programme aims to nurture legal imagination while building a sound understanding of history and organization of legal systems from national, international and comparative perspectives and will be offered by O.P. Jindal Global University's law school. It builds on the efforts of the Indian high school education system, which has introduced "Legal Studies" as a course in recent years.

This UG degree programme has five objectives:

  1. It has created an opportunity for all high school students to pursue the study of law, even if they may not be interested to become a lawyer. In that sense, it has democratised the study of law and made it accessible to all students regardless of whichever academic stream they have been part of in their high school;
  2. The UG programme in law has provided an opportunity to pursue legal studies even before the study of law so that students can make informed choices as to whether they want to pursue law as a career. After the undergraduate degree in legal studies, they can choose to pursue the three-year LLB, which will empower them to become a lawyer;
  3. The BA Legal Studies programme is interdisciplinary in nature and the curriculum has focussed on the social, economic, and political context of law in society, which will enable the students to understand the nuances dimensions of building a society based on the rule of law and to promote access to justice;
  4. The students of BA Legal Studies being part of the Jindal Global Law School will have the opportunities to experience short term study abroad programmes in law that are held at Harvard University, University of Oxford, Fletcher School-Tufts University and also exchange programmes at many universities around the world including at the University of Arizona;
  5. This programme enables students to have a deep and substantive introduction to legal studies within the context of humanities and social sciences."

The launch of the first multi-disciplinary undergraduate programme in Legal Studies was preceded by a lecture on 'Changing the World Through Law' by Professor Stephen P. Marks, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health and Human Rights, Harvard University and a special address by Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor, JGU and Dean, Jindal Global Law School.

The B.A. (Hons.) programme in Legal Studies strives to familiarise students with major legal and political discourses, while imparting skills essential for the performance of pre-legal and paralegal works as well as preparing them for careers in law, judiciary, academia, research and public service. Its holistic training seeks to develop, in students, a strong legal and social sciences research foundation. It enables them to express opinions on legal issues concisely and clearly, to identify, analyse and address legal problems and assess the social impact of law. The programme will begin admitting students from the academic year 2020-21.

Articulating on the role of lawyers in the freedom struggle, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Kumar, spoke of lawyers as torchbearers of social transformation and nation building. Lawyers played a central role in the drafting of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution Assembly proceedings clearly demonstrates the part played by the lawyers in elaborating the basic concepts of freedom, equality and justice.

Professor Marks reflected on his own youth and that attracted him to the study of law, eventually earning a B.A. (Law) from Stanford University, and on the role of law in his professional life, not as a typical lawyer in private practice or a law firm but in public service where law figured prominently.

The event was attended by over 400 high school students and their teachers and counsellors. The Vice-Chancellor felicitated the school teachers and ignited the students' aspirations to become teachers and professors of the future while expressing his concern for Indian society where very few bright people want to take up teaching as a profession.

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