Bar Council Enrollment Examination
In the perspective of Law Graduates in Bangladesh
Omar Yasser Mallick :
While preparing this commentary report, nearly 50,000 candidates appeared in the recent Bar Council Enrollment Exams 2020 held on 28th February this year and only 8764 candidates passed the exams for the purpose of being enrolled as a new advocate, according to survey report.
Big claps for the successful candidate! Concurrently, it is noticeable that around 83 percent of the law students were unsuccessful to pass the enrollment examination. Now the question is --- whom to blames, the examinees or the regulating body?
In Bangladesh, a law graduate has great career prospects, no doubt about it. Knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the laws is an asset that can landmark some great jobs, and might even give them an upper hand in certain fields. And not only that, they can choose from a diverse range of specifications within the legal field. Here's a list of professions anybody can choose underneath as a law graduate.
A) Lawyer B) Judge C) Academician/researcher D) Corporate Employee E) Development Work (NGOs) F) Consultant G) Politician H) Journalist I) Public interest advocate J) Civil servant K) Mediator/negotiator
Nevertheless, the professional bodies the "Bar Council of Bangladesh" are here to create fresh advocates to contribute the harmony of judiciary system or to place the majorities to the place of no man's land (???).
While in a random survey some examinees said : A student of LLM trying to get enrollment for last 5 years and appeared in the exams for two times was unable to pass the enrollment exams resulting in fatality and has no way for daily living. He is oppressed from the family because of the non-performance. Another student complains that the questionnaire was not for of advocacy rather is the format of judicial questionnaire.
Other student complains 30 second timing for a set of 100 questions in a paper was not enough for them to answer as most of the questions were situation based or case study research basis questions.
Needless to point out the candidates appearing in the exams are all coming from recognized prospective universities domestically and from abroad to contribute and strengthen the judiciary system of Bangladesh.
As per Rule-60 of the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Rules 1972, every person seeking enrolment to the Bar Council shall have to take such further legal training and post examination pupilage before enforcement of sanad as may be determined by the Bar Council. As part of this scheme Bar Vocational Course (BVC) is now mandatory for all the applicants for enrolment. This course is conducted under the supervision of the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council. However, due to a court decision, the BVC course is now become unnecessary.
Besides, according to the Article-27(2), before a person is admitted as an advocate, the Bar Council may require him to undergo such course of training as it may prescribe.
Rules to get enrolment of Advocates in general
Article-27 (1) Subject to provisions of this order and the rules made there under, a person shall be qualified to be admitted as an advocate if he fulfils the following conditions namely:-
(a) he is a citizen of Bangladesh;
(b) he has completed the age of twenty-one years;
(c) he has obtained
(i) a degree in law from any university situated within the territory which form part of Bangladesh; or;
(ii) before the 26th day of March. 1971, a degree in law from any university in Pakistan:
Provided that the Bar Council may recognize such degree obtained by such person after the 25th day of March, 1971, if it is satisfied that he was prevented by circumstances beyond his control from returning to Bangladesh after- that date; or
(iii) before the 14th day of August, 1947, a degree in law from any university in any area which was comprised before that date within India as defined by the Government of India Act, 1935; or
(iv) a bachelor's degree in law from any university outside Bangladesh recognized by the Bar Council; or
(v) he is a barrister;
(d) he has passed such examination as may be prescribed by the Bar Council; and
(e) he has paid such enrolment fee and fulfils such Other conditions as may be specified Hl rules made by the Bar Council.
(1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1) a person who has, for at least seven years, been a Mukhtar may, subject to the other provisions of this Order and the rules made thereunder, be admitted as an advocate if he fulfils the conditions specified in sub clauses(a), (b), (d) and (e) of clause ( 1).
As a matter of fact , since Bar council is not taking any training owing to the courts interventions the examinees are not being able to be trained properly for in-house court in reality and thus they are failing the exams. Then what could be the destiny for an examinee is to wait because of the session jams or retake the exams. Obviously, it won't solve this enigmatic situation.
According to a private survey in the year 2015 to 2017, a sum of 35000 examinees appeared in the Bar Council Examination and finally the number of passing candidates was 7200. Rest 28000 examinees were pending. After 2017, an agitation movement of law student occurred and the Bar Council announced date of enrollment examination in the year 2020 to be held on the 28 February, 2020. It means, a session jam of overall 51000 students appeared on the current examination and 83 percent failed and remarked that the Bar Council Enrollment Examination was the most unsuccessful examination events in the history of Bangladesh.
But our neighbor country India emphasizes the minimum required score to clear the All India Bar Examination is 40% (that is, 40 out of 100). There is no negative marking in the All India Bar Examination. So question arises, why Bangladesh applies negative marking as Bar Council is the professional bodies to qualify Entry level advocates as practitioners only? Is not the system wiping out Law Graduates?
It is high time for Bangladesh that concerned quarters should immediately take steps for the welfare of the Law graduates and come up with an immediate solutions which is the crying need of the hour for Law students. The Bar authority must immediately declare a new date of examination to avoid the session jams and should pave the way of these pending student to prosper their career to contribute stronger judiciary practice.
(Omar Yasser Mallick, CEO, Arona International)