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Sri Lanka to consider District Law Colleges to expand legal education


Sep 12, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's Policy Development Office has proposed to set up legal education institutes at district level in order to enhance the opportunities for legal education in the country. Responding to a request made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the Policy Development Office of the PMO has submitted a list of proposals including the above proposal for consideration. “Since the total number of lawyers is quite low compared to the country’s population, it is essential to enhance the opportunities for legal education,” Policy Development Office said. “This will also provide the foundation for a more law-abiding society.” District Bar Associations have the capacity to provide practitioners who can be teachers at a Law College in the District, and Universities nearby can also provide academic support, it said. Conducting entrance examinations under the supervision of Commissioner General of Examination and Council of Legal Education has been identified as a sensible method of quality control. According to the proposal, admission to the Bar would be a matter for the Supreme Court. Successful students can indicate their choice of Colombo or a District Law College and will be selected on a competitive merit plus residential basis. “The Law College of the Council Legal Education, is a fee charging institute, and this expansion will not be a strain on the state coffers,” Policy Development Office said.
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“Young people will have the opportunity of accessing a quality legal education.” High cut off marks for the internal LL.B degree at state universities and the few space available at Sri Lanka Law College have been identified as the factors which limit the opportunities for legal education. According to the statistics in 2016, even though they have been qualified for the university entrance to read for the LL.B, 8432 students missed the opportunity to enter state universities to get their LL.B degrees due to high cut off marks. In the same year, out of 5,135 students who applied to the Sri Lanka Law College, only 239 were selected for admission. Even though these proposals do not reflect the official view of the government, they have been put forward as suggestions for serious consideration.
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