When everyone lives without law, every man lives without freedom - Pope Benedict XVI

The law of a country serves as a code of conduct for its citizens. It provides proper guidelines and brings a sense of order to maintain parity among the three branches of a government. Law, basically, keeps the society from disintegrating. There will be utter chaos without law to guide the people and you would be back to the primitive age where it was all about survival of the fittest. No one desires to go back to the dark ages. So, the law and lawyers help prevent that. The law acts as the guideline and the lawyers protect that in order for society to function. Without law, there would be conflicts and no easy way to adopt changes in society.

If you look at societal relations, it will reveal a web-like structure. Social relations depend on social processes, interactions between social players and social organizations. Social change thus refers to desirable variations in one or more of these where an alteration in their structure and/or functions is implied. The role of law is significant when society calls for such changes.

If you're wondering how all this is related to writing the bar exam, then this article will help you understand why the bar exam in India exists in the first place. Such an important examination that builds future lawyers must assume a lot of significance for aspiring candidates. Especially if you're looking to get a job as a lawyer in court.

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The Bar Council of India

High Court of Calcutta
To be enrolled in the All India Bar Council, you first have to be associated with the State Bar Council.

To answer all your questions around the registration date, application process, examination result, etc., you need to unfold the terms bci and aibe. What are they? What do they mean for aspiring candidates and future lawyers?

The Bar Council of India (bci) is the sole authority that is entrusted with the regulation of legal practice and legal education in India. It was set up as a statutory body under the Advocates Act, 1961 under Section 4, where members are elected from amongst Indian lawyers. The latter then become representatives of the Indian Bar. All India Bar Examination (aibe) is the exam that you need to clear to be admitted in the Bar and to start practicing as a lawyer in India.

What are the Functions of the BCI?

Section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961 states the regulatory and representative mandate of the Bar Council as,

  1. Laying down the standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates in India.
  2. Laying down procedures to be adopted and followed by disciplinary committees.
  3. Safeguarding the rights, interests, and privileges of advocates and solicitors.
  4. Promote law reforms in the country.
  5. Engage and dispose of all matters referred by any State Bar Council.
  6. Lay down standards of legal education.
  7. Determine universities to be eligible to give out degrees to law students to become advocates.
  8. Organize and/or provide legal aid to those who can't afford it.
  9. Recognize international qualifications in law obtained outside the country for admission in India as an advocate.
  10. Manage and invest the bci funds.

Also read- How much can you earn as a lawyer in India?

All About Bar Exam- What is AIBE?

Practice law online
Study online or study offline for the bar exam | Image source: lawyer-monthly.com

All India Bar Examination (aibe) is a national-level exam for aspiring lawyers and advocates who want to practice law in the country, conducted by the bci. BCI uses the aibe to evaluate and gauge the abilities of candidates and to decide whether at all they are fit to practice law in the future. Anyone can take the All India Bar Exam- a provisionally enrolled advocate or a fresh law graduate. There was a time when candidates were allowed to take along with them the study materials to the exam hall. It was almost like an open-book test. But that is no longer permitted especially with the exam shifting online thanks to the pandemic.

You have to score a minimum of 40% in the aibe to clear the examination. Once you clear it, you will be awarded a Certificate of Practice (COP), which allows you to practice law. Those who are unable to obtain the COP remain enlisted as provisional advocates or non-practicing lawyers. The aibe is a mandatory exam for everyone who holds a law degree and wishes to practice in the field of professional law. This mandate, however, does not apply to students who have graduated with a law degree before 2010.

Registration Process for AIBE

Step 1: Application

You have to complete your online registration for the AIBE exam on the BCI website. This process includes registration, application form filling (the aibe xvi) and the payment of fees. You can pay the fees online or through a bank challan.

Step 2: Admit Card

If your registration is successful and your application approved, you will get a notification to your registered email to download the AIBE admit card from the bci website, which have details like date of examination, time, center, etc.

Step 3: Take the Exam

On the given exam date, you have to physically appear for the test at the allotted center.

Step 4: Checking the Answer Key

Once all the candidates have taken the exam, BCI will issue an AIBE answer key on their official website for candidates to assess their performance. You'll first get a provisional answer key, followed by the final one.

Step 5: AIBE Results

Once the final answer key is published, bci will declare the results on the official website. You have to check them online, using your exam roll number and date of birth.

Step 6: Obtain the COP

Once you have cleared the bar exam in India, don't forget the very important last step to obtain the COP or Certificate of Practice from bci. You will get a notification from them once it is ready to be collected from the state bar council.

Are There Any Requirements for Writing the Bar Exam?

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No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it - Theodore Roosevelt

This is true of lawyers as well. You can't bypass the laws in order to become a practitioner of law. The All India Bar Exam was introduced by the Bar Council of India (bci) in 2011 in order to regulate the entry of legal professionals in the field and to prevent frauds and scams. India has a whopping number of law colleges and universities (close to 1800), with the number of students graduating every year close to a few lakhs. There was thus a need to put in place a system to allow only those with the minimum competence and appetite for law are allowed to practice the profession at any level of courts. The exam is conducted twice a year and aims to assess the basic knowledge of the applicant vis-à-vis legal and analytical abilities.

Things to Note Before Writing the Bar exam

  1. The examination is conducted bi-annually by the Bar Council of India (bci).
  2. The two main areas of assessment include substantive and procedural laws.
  3. The scope and syllabus of the exam is dictated by bci three months prior to the exam; once in January and again in September.
  4. The minimum pass percentage is decided by the Bar Council.
  5. There is no cap on the number of attempts you can make at the aibe.
  6. The Bar Council is the sole decision-making authority on matters of format of exam, syllabus, question paper, answer key, evaluators, reading materials, and moderators.
  7. You can take the test in any of the 11 languages stipulated by bci.
  8. It is mandatory to collect the COP from the state bar council upon clearing the exam successfully, failing which you maybe barred from practicing law.

Tips on Bar Exam Prep

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Open-book exams are most difficult, contrary to popular belief. Although, since March, 2o21 this format of aibe has been altered. Nevertheless, it is important to choose exactly what to carry to the exam hall in the form of study materials so you can refer to them immediately and know where to find what.

General Tips on Bar Exam Prep

  1. Identify subjects that carry maximum marks. Prepare for the exam by focusing on these and reduce time you invest in the other subjects.
  2. Take multiple mock exams and build your expertise well enough before appearing for the real exam. These also help reduce anxiety and nervousness in the exam hall.
  3. Take things seriously. Just because you're a law graduate, don't become complacent. There is a 30% failure ratio in aibe. Always remind yourself of that figure when your mind tells you to take it slow.
  4. Create strategies and act fast. Like all competitive exams, time is of essence in aibe. You must have a strategy as to how to approach the question paper.
  5. Stop mugging up laws. Even the most successful lawyers with decades of exams keep going back to their books during real cases. You can't be an exception in this field. But you should know where to find what when faced with a question or case study during the exam.

Being result-oriented and not focusing too much on the magnanimity of the aibe will help you sail through with flying colors.

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Pragnajyoti

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