Study law in the UK - Important things to know
The black-suited professionals carrying an aura of charm or the wig and gown attire of barrister is more than the enthralling sight. The legal profession is an industry-agnostic due to the need for legal services in every small and large business. The study of law is a door opener for multiple careers and not limited to the positions of barrister or solicitor. The law degree offers careers in politics, human resource, commerce, journalism, accountancy, advice work, civil services, police work and many more. The UK has always been a top choice for Indian students aspiring to study law and this tradition is continuing for decades. India has always preferred a codified system of laws but finds proximity in the legal arena with the UK following an uncodified constitution. The law graduates from India can practice in the UK and vice versa which further accounts for the visibility of the UK as a leading destination for legal studies.
The role of British rule in the making of Indian legal system:-
Do you know the laws such as Salt Cess act, 1953, Indian Police Act, 1861, or the Foreigners Act, 1946 and many other ordinances have been enacted by the British during their colonial rule are still prevalent in India. The Indian legal system has evolved from the common law system introduced by the British East India Company and after independence; India retained the system in a modified form for Indian conditions. The British rule has massively influenced the making of the legal system of India.
The Constitution of India, the supreme law is based on the Government of India Act, 1935, passed by the British Parliament. After the first war of Independence in 1857, there was a major transition in the legal system of India. The Privy Council based in London acted as the highest court of appeal and its decisions are still binding unless overruled by the Supreme Court of India. After independence, the Privy Council was replaced by the Supreme Court as the appellate body of the judiciary.
Study law in the UK:-
If you have already decided to take up the studies in law in the UK, you are on the right path. You are heading to the place where the common law was born. UK universities are world-famous for delivering excellent law programs. Students enjoy the choice of duration of the study and the option of an additional year. If you have just passed out from higher secondary, you have an option of three-year LLB or a four-year program including a year for professional experience or International education. The students holding a non-law undergraduate degree can apply for two years accelerated LLB senior status program. The law programs are richly designed to teach the core legal concepts including the negotiations, mooting, legal analysis and legal writing and drafting. The students are experiencing the real-world setting in mock courtrooms. The law programs from the UK universities are designed to help you qualify law in the jurisdictions of the UK and back in India.
The UK universities have a history and rich tradition of delivering world-class education in legal studies. They pride themselves for taking the top places in the league tables of Universities. The Times Higher Education (THE) rankings 2020 saw three UK Universities in the top ten law schools in the world and a total of 33 UK Universities in the list. The University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and London School of Economics and Political Science are ranked as the top three law schools in the UK.
How to become a lawyer in the UK
The legal profession in the UK is witnessing an overwhelming growth and in line with this many students are getting inclined to study law. The overseas qualified lawyers, as always, are holding a good value in the UK. The UK firms looking to expand their international dominance set their offices in other countries or get into mergers with international law firms. Similarly, International law firms are also seen opening their offices in the UK as it acts as a bridge from the USA to mainland Europe and beyond. UK law firms need the skills and knowledge of non-UK lawyers to succeed in the international arena.
The two prominent legal professions in the UK are Solicitor and Barrister. The prospective lawyers need to go through the three-step process to qualify for such titles although the path to both careers is different and requires separate training. The first stage of the qualification process is the same, under graduation degree in law. The graduates who want to see themselves as the future solicitors need to pursue a two years vocational training program known as the legal practice course (LPC) inclusive of a compulsory PLC. The process culminates at an apprenticeship, known as TC, training contract.
For those aiming to qualify as a barrister, the following vocational training after an under graduation degree is shorter in duration and runs for twelve months. This is called the Bar course, formerly known as BPTC, Bar Professional Training Course. The final step to qualify as a Barrister is to take a twelve-month Pupillage by shadowing an experienced Barrister usually spent in the Barristers' chamber.
Scope of UK law degree in India:
As a law graduate from a UK University, you would be carrying an education which is current and practical-skills based. The Bar Council of India recognizes degrees from 42 UK Universities (2019) and offers students two ways for the qualification as legal practitioners in India. The graduates from the recognized Universities need to register with their respective state bar councils which forwards the application to the Bar Council of India. This follows a six subjects examination which once cleared registers the graduate to practice the law in India.
Law graduates from other Universities in the UK need to take the other route for registration in India. They make a direct application to the Bar Council of India. The applications are considered on a case-to-case basis before qualifying as a lawyer in India.
List of UK Universities approved by BCI (2019)
4-INNS OF COURTS SCHOOL OF LAW
5-COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL ACADEMIC AWARDS
10-THAMES VALLEY UNIVERSITY
11-UNIVERSITY OF WALES COLLEGE OF CARDIFF
12- UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
13- UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER
14- UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE
15- UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM
16- UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL
17- UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
18- UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
19- EAST ANGLIA UNIVERSITY
20- NOTTINGHAM UNIVERSITY
21- UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
22- BANGOR UNIVERSITY
23- KINGSTON UNIVERSITY, LONDON
24- UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON
25- UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
26- UNIVERSITY OF KENT
27- UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON
28- UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
29- UNIVESITY OF WESTMINSTER
30- BRUNEL UNIVERSITY
31- BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY
32- NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY
33- UNIVESITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
34- SWANSEA UNIVERSITY
35- UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
36- BPP UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
37- UNIVERSITY OF READING
38- UNIVERSITY OF NORTHAMPTION
39- ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY
40- ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY
41- UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
42- SUSSEX UNIVERSITY
43- CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
All the Best!
About the author: Asif Jalal is working as an advisor to students for overseas education for the past close to 5 years. He is credited with having placed hundreds of students in different parts of the world. Besides, he is an aspiring writer who relishes writing blogs and poetry.