Plans for NLU Prayagraj: A well-stocked library, connection with Allahabad High Court, new courses

NLU Prayagraj will admit its first in 2024 and offers, for now, a BA LLB degree programme.

NLU Prayagraj will be taking admissions through CLAT (Image Credit:  SGT University)NLU Prayagraj will be taking admissions through CLAT (Image Credit: SGT University)

Atul Krishna | January 14, 2024 | 09:25 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The new National Law University (NLU) at Prayagraj was cleared by the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet in July 2020. Three years on, the Dr. Rajendra Prasad National Law University, Prayagraj, is finally taking shape. It will admit its first undergraduate batch in 2024. Its founding vice-chancellor Usha Tandon described her vision for the university over email to Careers360. Edited excerpts below.

Q. What is your immediate priority as the first VC of NLU Prayagraj?

A. As the founding vice-chancellor of Dr. Rajendra Prasad National Law University, Prayagraj, my priorities revolve around designing a comprehensive and innovative course curriculum and delineating the university’s goals, and overarching direction. A well-stocked library is important for any ambitious law university and we aspire to have a world-class collection of books.

My immediate priority is to meet the university’s vision that resonates with educational excellence, research innovation, and societal impact, all encapsulated within a dynamic strategic blueprint. Another priority is the recruitment and cultivation of a diverse, talented faculty body, fostering an environment ripe for intellectual growth and scholarly pursuits. For this, we have advertised positions.

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Simultaneously, we are engaged with the recruitment of administrative and supporting staff as per the guidelines of the state government. This is necessary for establishing and upholding the university’s functioning that ensures compliance with regulatory requisites. I am committed to quality assurance and accreditation, ensuring that the university consistently upholds exemplary standards in education, research and administrative practices, thus cementing its reputation as a paragon of academic excellence.

Q. How does your institution plan to stand out among other NLUs?

A. Firstly, NLU’s location in Prayagraj is quite distinctive. Prayagraj, often referred to as the judicial capital of the state, stands as a guiding light for legal education, scholarly pursuit and ethical leadership. Prayagraj has been known for her academic legacy and has produced erudite legal scholars of national and international repute. NLU’s proximity to the High Court of Allahabad – India’s largest and a powerful high court – makes it possible for leading members of the bar and bench to make a significant contribution to the growth of the NLU.

Our students will get valuable insights from the world of legal practice, especially for their internships and placements. Secondly, my decades of experience in legal education at the University of Delhi and wide networking with law firms, industry and think tanks will help budding lawyers to get exposure at national and international levels.

As a new NLU, innovation in teaching methodologies is the cornerstone of our approach. Leveraging technology, interactive learning platforms and blended learning techniques, we strive to create an engaging and adaptive learning environment. This includes flipped classrooms, online resources, and personalised learning plans, catering to diverse learning styles and enhancing student engagement.

Our institution focuses on pioneering legal education prioritising experiential learning by providing hands-on opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge through moot courts, mock trials, mediation and other simulated legal exercises. These experiences cultivate practical skills, critical thinking and ethical decision-making, empowering our students to navigate real-world legal challenges competently.

Furthermore, we intend to empower our students to inculcate the idea of start-ups by establishing an incubation centre at the NLU, where young minds may come up with legal apps, legal products, legal consultancy etc. Most importantly, a robust mechanism for campus recruitment of students with top-tier law firms and multinational companies (MNCs) is our top agenda.

Our commitment, however, extends beyond academic pursuits. We prioritise community engagement and social responsibility. Through legal aid clinics, pro bono initiatives and outreach programmes, our students and faculty address societal issues, advocating for justice and promoting legal literacy among marginalised communities.

Q. What is the admission process?

A. We are offering admission for the first batch of the integrated five-year BA-LLB degree programme for academic year 2024-25 and we are relying on CLAT scores for admission.

Q. Will research be a priority?

A. Research is our paramount priority. Interdisciplinary studies focusing on public policy, sociology and political science broaden perspectives and address complex legal challenges through a multifaceted lens. Additionally, emphasising social justice and marginalised communities through clinical legal education programmes instil in students a sense of ethical responsibility and a dedication to equitable legal practices.

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International and comparative law studies further expand students’ horizons, fostering a global outlook essential in today’s interconnected world. Embracing legal technology, policy research, empirical studies, and tailoring research to address local legal issues will be our primary concern. This research agenda encompassing traditional legal education and forward-thinking subjects will establish a dynamic foundation for our law university.

Q. Technology is becoming more and more important in the legal space. Is this something you are planning to incorporate into the curriculum?

A. Our curriculum and research will be designed considering the dynamic relationship between law and technology. Our curriculum will cover foundational legal principles vis-a-vis technology, including intellectual property, cyber law, privacy rights, data security etc. It will also explore emerging legal issues in AI, blockchain, digital rights and the ethical implications of technology in legal practice.

Practical modules on technology in courtroom procedures, digital evidence and regulatory compliance must complement theoretical understanding. Furthermore, interdisciplinary components integrating tech, ethics and policy alongside case studies and moot courts will ensure a holistic grasp of the evolving legal landscape intersecting with technology.

Q. Are you planning to launch any new-age courses?

A. Along with traditional courses, we will offer courses that cater to the evolving legal landscape. Besides technology law, other courses include environmental law; entertainment and media law covering intellectual property rights in the industry; healthcare and bioethics law; international human rights law focusing on global rights issues; corporate compliance, delving into ethics and governance; sports law; and alternative dispute resolution covering mediation and arbitration.

These courses prepare students to navigate the complex, specialised legal fields, essential in today’s multifaceted society. We will collaborate with different institutions, stakeholders and experts of the respective domains to provide integral practical modules to the students. We also look forward to establishing specialised research centres, inviting experts from tech and legal professions, and offering hands-on training through internships or workshops to ensure practical application. Continuous adaptation to technological advancements, regular curriculum updates and fostering a culture of innovation, we believe, sustain the relevance and excellence of these new-age courses.

Q. What are your short-term and long-term visions for the institution?

A. Our short-term vision involves immediate goals like admission, starting the course, recruiting and enhancing faculty expertise, having a rich library, expanding infrastructure and fostering collaborations with legal institutions. We are also looking to establish research centres and clinics, incubation centres and initiate partnerships with local communities.

Our long-term vision includes contributing significantly to legal education and reforms; producing graduates and scholars who are professionally outstanding and also ethical leaders.

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