LLM VIA DISTANCE LEARNING – A BOON






Shrirang Ashtaputre

Intern, Legal Angles Patna


As one of the most diverse professions of the world, Law, provides its pursuer with ample opportunities, be it in the field of litigation, social work, policy-making, corporate sector and probably the most prestigious, academia. The very foundations of modern-day jurisprudences first evolved in classrooms – the ability to ponder upon a prevailing scenario in the country and discussing the legal issues surrounding it and its legal implications have been in vogue since centuries. The only difference between the philosophical discussions of today is that there is an immediate execution of revolutionary thoughts, which are capable of transforming, uplifting and subsequently, creating an egalitarian and humane society. As of today, it is the Judiciary, which is undertaking the herculean task of interpreting the prevailing statutes and reading them with the existing precedents to explore new dimensions of human rights and bestow justice upon the deserving. In this era of globalization, it is expected that Judges are well-informed about the legal developments undertaking abroad for keeping pace with ever-evolving international standards, demanding a need to examine the legal-systems of at least the Common Law Countries, such as UK, USA, Australia, Canada and even South Africa. Notably, increasing privatization and foreign investments also demand a good team of corporate lawyers, well-versed with the prevailing standards of the corporate sector throughout the world. Such a detailed study is largely possible due to LLM, which, in layman’s term, can be understood as Masters in Law. An ideal LLM course involves studying the specialization in-depth and preparing a dissertation towards the end of the course on a specific topic pertaining to the topic. As debate ensues with regards to whether a person should pursue the said degree or not, primarily because critics argue that it is expensive with negligible chance of securing employment; one must not ignore the numerous benefits of this form of education, namely that of:

1. Develop a Specialization

2. Joining Academia as a Career

3. Better Placement Opportunities in the native country

4. Job Opportunity in other countries

Nevertheless, what is relevant is that LLM is a necessity for those looking to make a good career in the field of academia and give their energy, time and resources for shaping the legal system of India.

DISTANCE LEARNING LLM IN INDIA:

It is true that India, as compared to foreign nations, does not house renowned globally acclaimed law universities, and those which are faring well, such as the top tier National Law Universities are quite difficult to get into. Interestingly, several people find it convenient to spend lavishly to get an LLM from a foreign University – although that is beneficial and highly recommended, not every Indian is capable of availing this facility. Naturally, the majority resort to pursuing Masters from Local Colleges and interestingly, perform well, either in academia as professors or as litigants in several judicial forums of the country. Talent, after all, cannot be suppressed and every hurdle is no less than an adventure for a pursuer. Furthermore, several graduates seek to pursue their masters and work simultaneously in a firm, organization etc. either for paying the fees or gaining maximum experience, as the case maybe. With growing awareness and the need to maintain attendance strictly in colleges throughout the country for all reputed courses, many find it difficult to finish their education in a manner that pleases them. For redressing this grievance, several revered institutions of India, either by themselves or in collaboration have launched Distance Learning Programmes, enabling people to pursue LLM. Predominantly through online mode – DLP is preferred by candidates living miles away from reputed universities of India as they can even access it through their electronic gadgets. To put it systematically, Distance Learning:

1. Saves Money

2. Helps gain knowledge without having to take a break in the career

3. Helps in learning at ease and as per convenience, allowing people to truly enjoy the subject

4. Flexible eligibility requirement to pursue this course aids the majority crowd reap the benefits of refined education.

5. A tool for spreading legal education far and wide in the country, which is the duty of every law student, practitioner and even Legal Educational Institutions.

Naturally, a distance learning LLM program shall significantly useful and recognition from Bar Council implies that such investment would truly enable practitioners to utilize this course for applying for a firm, practicing along the lines of the said ranch of law etc. Therefore, it becomes imperative to discuss the aspects of such courses and therefore, a brief list of institutions which offer such course is elucidated below:

1. National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Karnataka:

a. One of the oldest and premium National Law Universities of India, NLSIU has played a crucial role in westernizing legal education in India and restricting legal education herein. The institute provides Master of Business Laws, a 2 Year Course through Distance Learning. It comprises of 10 Modules, ranging from aspects of Corporate Law, Labour Law, Intellectual Property Law and even the Law of Taxation. While the fees for Indian Nationals is Rs. 64,000/-, Foreign Nationals are expected to pay a hefty Rs. 2,22,950/-[1].


2. Kalinga University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh:

a. As a reputed private college of Chhattisgarh, India, it provides Masters in Law via distance learning and in 2 years, seeks to introduce the pursuer with the nuances of several laws of the country and even aspects of International Law. The Fees for this course is Rs. 25,000/- per year[2].


3. Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat, Haryana:

a. One of the finest private Law Schools of India, known for passionate and scholarly Indian and international faculty, great packages and amazing exposure to the global trends of legal research, this institute, in collaboration with Upgrad, has launched India’s First Online LLM (Master of Laws) Degree in Corporate & Financial Law. This 1 Year program shall be brief its students with subjects such as M&A Transactions and Private Equity, Commercial Contract Drafting, Corporate Insolvency Law, Competition Law, and Banking and Financial Law. However, the fee for this 26 credit course is Rs. 3,00,000/- [3].


4. Kurukshetra Univrsity, Kurukshetra, Haryana:

a. A city, known for the manifestation of the Mythological Mahabharta War, the University is of equal relevance and reverence in contemporary times, having grown into a conglomerate of colleges offering diverse courses from its humble origins of a mere Sanskrit Department. It provides for Masters of Law, a 2 Year Course with a total fee of Rs. 37,000/-[4].


5. Kuvempu University, Shimoga, Karnataka:

a. A Public University, it provides for 2 Years Masters of Law, largely emphasizing on Commercial Law in the 2nd Year of this course[5]. A total of Rs. 25920/- is expected to be paid by the students[6].


6. School of Law, IGNOU:

a. An initiative by the Government for making excellent quality professional education available at the doorsteps of the citizens of the country for ensuring better employment opportunities among other things, IGNOU provides a minimum 2 Year Masters of Intellectual Property Law at Rs. 36,000/-[7].

It must be noted that several reputed National Law Universities and other Colleges of the country provide Certificate Courses and Post Graduate Diplomas in numerous branches of Law, ranging from Human Rights to Aviation Law! As Online Learning continues to grow, it is estimated that several institutes of the country shall create such courses and if possible, provide LLM either Online or through Distance Learning for enabling people to gain knowledge of the prevailing rules and regulations of the land and even engage in this profession in some way or the other, as the case may be.

CONCLUSION:

Due to the outbreak of the Pandemic and the subsequent efforts by countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 by introducing Lockdowns, masses resorted to Online Learning with the intention of improving skills, exploring new passions etc. Interestingly, this proved to be successful as millions enrolled for diverse courses which also convinced the Government to prepare themselves for providing online classes. Even today, several colleges have resorted to such form of teaching, which is indicative of the increased possibility of such form of learning in the near future. Naturally, this is an added advantage for both students and legal practitioners, for now, they can gain knowledge and legal experience at the same time, thereby becoming better at their profession, which in return, could help law colleges in creating a breed of learned and wise lawyers or even learned professors of tomorrow– it is undisputed that a significant difference lies in the laws learnt within the confines of a classroom and that which manifests in the court and in my opinion, Online Learning would surely bridge this gap and help in transforming the legal system of India, which is, the need of the hour.

[1] As retrieved from: (https://online.nls.ac.in/programmes/master-of-business-laws-mbl/). [2] As retrieved from: (https://www.ciisindia.in/llm/). [3] As retrieved from: (https://www.upgrad.com/law-llm-corporate-and-finance-jgu/). [4] As retrieved from: (https://www.shiksha.com/college/directorate-of-distance-education-kurukshetra-university-23472/course-master-of-law-ll-m-35917). [5] As retrieved from: (https://www.correspondence-education.org/kuvempu-university-correspondence-courses.html). [6] As retrieved from: (https://educationiconnect.com/kuvempu-university-distance-education/). [7] As retrieved from: (http://www.ignou.ac.in/ignou/aboutignou/school/sol/programmes/detail/35/3).

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