Bar Council Enrollment Exam-In some recent days, we have noticed that the apprentice lawyers again started a new protest. They are seeking from Bangladesh Bar Council to publish a Gazette Notification and enrol them as a lawyer. The main reason that can be behind this demand is the grudge of apprentice lawyers for the irregularities in the enrollment examination process for a long time.
Bangladesh Bar Council (BBC) is an autonomous institution, and one of its primary duty is to maintain a systematic method for enrollment of the lawyers under The Bangladesh Legal Practitioner’s and Bar Council Order,1972. There is a specific enrollment committee for the observance of this duty entrusted on it by the said law.
However, since its establishment and formation of committees, it has never faced such situations it is facing within these last few years. There was a glorious time when the BBC could take two exams in a year and could train up lawyers by mandatory training programs through the Bar Vocational Course (BVC).
Unfortunately, this glory now has lost, and there are several reasons behind that. The change in the education system is one of the reasons. In a couple of years, many private universities have been established and started to offer law degree. In every fourth month of a year, a large number of students are graduating from these private universities. Before the Bar Council Enrollment Exam and Others vs. A.K.M Fazlul Kamir and Others (5 CLR(2017) 114), it was more alarming.
After this judgment, though the private universities are allowed to admit and graduate 50 students in a semester, the number of students graduates in a year is not less, considering the number of private universities and semesters. Besides this, a large number of students graduates from law colleges under National University. Similarly, another large number of students graduates from public universities each year. It is undoubtedly a difficult task for the BBC to cope with a large number of students single-handedly.
However, it is desired that being the institution responsible for the enrollment of the lawyers’ BBC will resolve the problems related to enrollment. Nevertheless, the solution should be visionary and not temporary to address the problems arisen only.
Considering the number of candidates and preservation of the quality of the lawyers, the Bar Council can give a durable solution through making changes in the Rules of Bar Council Order.
While the authority of Bar Council says that, ‘the number of candidates is many’ to address this problem, the best possible solution may be to introduce a ‘Stop Gate Measure’ at a very initial stage. The Bar Council does have a mandate to control the quality of legal education and does have a Legal Education Committee. In force of that, it can set some standard requirements to fulfil for getting admitted in law schools, whatever the nature of the institution it is. It will help to pull up the brilliant students in this field.
Moreover, more successfully, it can be initiated by organizing the university admission test in a year after the H.S.C exam by Bar Council as followed in the Medical Admission Process. It will help the Bar Council in three ways. Firstly, this will help it to keep up to date database of the law students. Secondly, at the initial stage, meritorious students can be selected, and thirdly, the irregularities in the admission process of the universities can be allayed.
After a successful selection of the law students for the next four years and completion of LL.B (Honors), it will not be necessary to take the existing three-step enrollment exam for becoming lawyers. A rigorous viva exam by the justices of the High Court Division and District Judges would be sufficient to assess qualifications and to enroll one as a lawyer. It would reduce the time taking now for a lengthy enrollment process and would also ensure quality lawyers.
Whereas it can be followed in the future now at this present time, BBC can change its rule and set the requirements for the viva exam as mentioned above for enrollment of lawyers and can be continued in the future as well. In the alternative, the Bar Council enrollment committee can follow the practices of the USA, Sweeden, India. They can take a lesson from these countries on how they are conducting their enrollment exams for Advocateship. It is necessary now to address the backlog already took place.
If Bangladesh Bar Council does not take measures now, the fate of the law students who have graduated and who are going to be graduated in the future would be miserable.
The writer has completed his LL.M from Bangladesh University of Professionals. He is an Intern Lawyer at Dhaka District Judge Court. He had worked as an Advocacy Intern at Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust.