National Law School of India University
Other name
National Law School, NLS Bangalore, NLSIU
Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah (trans. Those who protect the Law are protected by the Law)
TypeNational Law University
Established1986 (1986)
FounderN. R. Madhava Menon
AffiliationBar Council of India
Budget38 crores[1]
ChancellorChief Justice of India (de facto)[i]
Vice-ChancellorSudhir Krishnaswamy
DeanMrinal Satish
RegistrarNigam Nuggehalli
Total staff
109 (16 - Administration) (93 - Academic)[a]
CampusUrban-located residential-cum-day school, 23 acres (9.3 ha)
Founding documentThe National Law School of India Act, 1986
  1. ^ As per section 7 of the Act, "the Chief Justice of India or his nominee who is a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court shall be the visitor of the School."

National Law School of India University (NLSIU), or simply National Law School (NLS), is a public law school and a National Law University located in Bangalore, considered by rankings to be the best law school in India.

Having been spearheaded by the then Chief Justice Y. V. Chandrachud, National Law School was the first National Law University (NLU) to be established in India as well as one of the first in the country to offer the five-year integrated BA-LLB programme.

The university was established by the NLSIU Act of 1986 passed by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. By statute, the visitor of the school is the Chief Justice of India, who also is the de facto Chancellor.[b] The day-to-day management and administration of the university is undertaken by the Vice-Chancellor. The founding of the school was the idea of N. R. Madhava Menon who also went on to establish other NLUs in the country as part of law education reforms.

Spread over 23 acres of campus, it houses India's largest law library and hosts some of the country's largest competitions and events, two of which are the NLS Debate and Strawberry Fields. The school is known for its highly competitive admissions which are screened through the Common Law Admission Test and National Law School Admission Test (NLSAT). It has a yearly intake of 568 students across its programmes.

National Law School is the only Indian institute to have won Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, having done so in 1999 and 2013. 25 of its alumni have been Rhodes scholars. Its flagship student-run publication, the National Law School of India Review, has been cited by the Supreme Court of India thrice.

Sudhir Krishnaswamy, an alumnus, is the sixth and the current Vice Chancellor.


The founding of the National Law School was a culmination of over two decades of effort by a legal team including former Chief Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah, Ram Jethmalani and Upendra Baxi. Efforts were made especially through the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India to establish a university along the lines of Harvard Law School.[2] Subsequently, the Bar Council of India Trust and the Government of Karnataka reached an agreement to found the first National Law University in Bangalore.[3] As such, in 1986, National Law University of India was established under the leadership of its founder, then Vice-Chancellor N. R. Madhava Menon.[4]

Menon was keen on ensuring that the teaching at the university was not conducted in the traditional lecture format, which was then popular across Indian law colleges. As such, he introduced the case method, which originated at the Harvard Law School in the early 1900s. He also introduced the concept of group teaching, where more than one professor would conduct classes, with the professors taking contradictory positions and arguing the various points of law.[5]

The first batch of law students joined the school's undergraduate programme on 1 July 1988. Classes commenced before the school's buildings had been fully constructed; with instruction having been conducted at the premises of the Central College of Bangalore University until November 1991. The school then formally moved to its present-day location in the Nagarbhavi suburb.


Section 7 of The National Law School of India Act, 1986 names the Chief Justice of India as the Visitor of the school. This position is of the de facto Chancellor. They have been given with wide-range of powers to cause inspection into the functions of the school.

The Vice-Chancellor of the school is the chief executive officer of the university, conducting day-to-day operations of the school. The first Vice Chancellor was the founder N. R. Madhava Menon. The school has since had five more Vice-Chancellors, namely N. L. Mitra, A. Jayagovind, G. Mohan Gopal, R. Venkata Rao, and Sudhir Krishnaswamy, who took over in 2019.[6]

Authorities of the school

Section 8 of act establishes the General Council, the Executive Council, the Academic Council, and the Finance Council; all four to facilitate the administration of the school. The Councils consist of individuals such as the Chief Justice of India, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, judges of the Supreme Court of India, the Advocate General of Karnataka, secretaries and ministers of the Government of Karnataka and other eminent persons in the field of law.[7]


Admissions to 5-year undergraduate programme are based on the Common Law Admission Test-undergraduate (CLAT-UG). For the 2023-28 session of the undergraduate CLAT, a total of 56,472 students contested for 2644 seats out of which 240 were of NLSIU.[8]

In 2020, NLSIU withdrew from the CLAT and announced it would be holding its own entrance examination called the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) which was later turned down by the Supreme Court of India.[9]

CLAT-PG is how candidates of the Master of Laws (LL.M) are screened, whereas for the candidates of 3-year LL.B., Master’s Programme in Public Policy (MPP), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), the National Law School Admission Tests (NLSAT) are conducted.

Programme Screening test Total yearly intake Notes
Integrated B.A./LL.B CLAT-UG 240[c] The test is being held since 2008 before which each NLU held its own test
Standard 3-year LL.B NLSAT-LLB 120 NLSIU is the only NLU offering such programme
Ph.D. (Law) NLSAT-Ph.D 4
Ph.D. (interdisciplinary) 4

In June 2021, NLSIU announced a major expansion plan. The plan entails increasing the number of students enrolled on campus exponentially from 660 in 2021 to 2,200 in 2028. The increase in the number of students will mainly be as a result of increasing batch size of the BALLB cohort and establishing a three-year LLB course.[10]

NLSIU voluntarily accommodated 25% reservation for Karnataka students across its admissions but the Government of Karnataka has disputed the way it is practically implemented.[11]


One of the university buildings


NLSIU offers school graduates its flagship five-year integrated B.A./LL.B. which qualifies the student to sit for the bar to practice law in India.

The undergraduate B.A./LL.B. curriculum at the school consists of a mix of social science and legal subjects. In the first two years, the law student attends courses on history, political science, sociology and economics alongside standard legal subjects, such as torts, contracts and constitutional law. In the latter three years, legal subjects dominate the curriculum.

In 2017, NLSIU radically overhauled its academic curriculum, allowing students to choose a greater number of their upper-year courses. The aim of the change was to bring NLSIU in line with international best-practices allowing students to explore areas of their interest to a greater degree.[12] This overhaul was also aimed at increasing the number of courses offered by industry practitioners by allowing for flexible evaluation patterns.


NLSIU launched a three-year standard LLB programme in 2022, making it the first NLU to do so.[13][14]

The school offers both coursework and research degrees at the postgraduate level. The LL.M. is a one-year coursework degree. The PhDs are research degrees.[15]

NLSIU offers a two-year residential Master's Programme in Public Policy (MPP) programme, organised in six trimesters.[16] In 2016 the UGC had asked NLSIU to change the name of MPP to Master of Arts (MA) in Public Policy.[17]

In addition to the above full-time programmes, the school's Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) offers several part-time distance learning programmes, including a master's degree in Business Law (MBL) and Postgraduate Diploma programmes in various fields.[18]


University rankings
Law – India
NIRF (2023)[19]1
India Today (2022)[20]1
Government colleges: 
Outlook India (2022)[21]1

National Law School of India is widely considered the best law school of India, ranking number one in all indices related to the law education. The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranked the institute first in its law ranking of 2023[22] as did India Today's "India's Best Colleges 2023: Law"[23] and Outlook India's "Top 13 Government Law Institutes" of 2023.[24]

Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library

The Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library at the school is the largest law library in the country, housing a collection of over 50,000 books and 20,000 journals covering a wide range of general and special subjects, comprising textbooks, reference books, back volumes of journals and reports, apart from current legal periodicals.[25] It is named after Narayan Rao Melgiri, who was a distinguished lawyer in Gadag. The Melgiri Library was inaugurated by Chief Justice of India Ramesh Chandra Lahoti in 2005. The library was built through contributions from the University Grants Commission (India) and Sudha Murthy,[25] chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and also the grand daughter of Melgiri.[26]

In 2023, Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and the member of Wangchuck dynasty Sonam Dechen Wangchuck officially inaugurated the revamped library building. It now features a dedicated space for differently abled individuals, including Braille printers, JAWS software-enabled readers, smart readers and desktop magnifiers.[27]

UNHCR Chair on Refugee Laws

In 1995, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at NLSIU.[28] It serves as the Asian Centre for Refugee Law.[29] N. Subramanya worked on issues pertaining to refugees during his tenure as researcher under the UNHCR Chair and in 2004 two of his books about refugees were published.[30]

Student activities

The Student Bar Association

The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the umbrella body that coordinates all student activities; all students are de facto members of the SBA. The SBA has created various Activity-Based Committees (ABCs) which are in charge of specific student activities.[32]

NLSIU has a total of twelve ABCs which coordinate the activities of the Student Bar Association (SBA). These committees are re-constituted every year. The Co-ordination Council consists of the Convenors/Joint Convenors of the ABCs. This Council is responsible for ensuring that the various ABCs function coherently. A wide range of internal as well as inter-institutional activities throughout the academic year are organised by the ABCs and the Co-ordination Council. These include Spiritus (Sports Festival), Strawberry Fields (Music Festival), the NLS-Trilegal International Arbitration Moot, the NLS Negotiation and Mediation Competition and Admit One (Theater Festival). Students are also responsible for the publication of Quirk, an online magazine at NLSIU, which seeks to provide space to engage in a meaningful and mature dialogue.[33]

Competitive debating

NLSIU plays an active role in promoting parliamentary style debate in India. The school regularly participates in many international competitions and is currently the highest-ranking Indian team in the World rankings.[34] NLSIU reached the ESL Finals in 2002 and in 2007 at the World Universities Debating Championship. It also recently won the 15th All Asian Debating Championships held in Dhaka in 2008. Three out of the four semi-finalist teams, and six of the top ten speakers, were from NLSIU. Another boost for the Parliamentary Debate movement in NLSIU came in the form of the Cambridge University Debate Competition 2009, where the NLSIU team became the first South Asian team to "make the break" and reach the second round of the competition.[35] NLSIU teams have also performed extremely well in the inaugural Asians BP Tournament held in Chulalongkorn University, with all three of its teams reaching the semi-finals of the tournament, and two out of the top ten speakers (and four in the top 20). Since then, NLS has reached the semi-finals of the United Asian Debating Championships held at Assumption University, Bangkok, in 2010. The NLSIU team of Anil Sebastian Pulickel and Aniruddha Basu have also been finalists at ABP. NLSIU speakers are consistently ranked at the top of parliamentary debates at the national and international level.

NLSIU also hosts South Asia's biggest Parliamentary Debate Competition, the National Law School Debate.[36] The inaugural edition of the NLS Debate was held in 2002. The competition brings together participants from across South Asia. In 2011, NLSIU's Literary and Debating Society launched two new initiatives – the NLS Union Debate[37] and the NLS Debate Junior. Christ Junior College is also organising a parliamentary debate, in a tie-up with NLS.[38]

Moot court competitions

NLSIU is the only law school in South Asia to have won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition twice, in 1999 and 2013[39] and to reach its finals in 2018.[40] NLSIU has won the Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Oxford in 2021.[41] NLSIU has also won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition in 2009,[42] 2012[43] and most recently in 2017.[44]

Student Exchange Programs

Students from the 5th year of the undergraduate course can take the opportunity to spend a semester abroad as part of the student exchange program run by the NLSIU. The University has MoUs for the same with over 30 universities all across the world, including the Georgetown University Law Center, National University of Singapore and the Sciences Po. Students from a number of these universities also visit NLSIU on short-term and long-term exchange programs.

Graduate Outcomes

Students graduating from the school pursue a diverse range of careers. A number of students opt to join corporate or other law firms. These may also include roles as business analysts in consultancy firms. Several students enter litigation careers, with a number of alumni having distinguished themselves in various courts across the country. NLSIU has produced 25 Rhodes Scholars.[45]

The founder Menon had outlined two objectives of the school and its replicas; first being to "strengthen the trial courts with competent judges at the grass roots" and the next being "to act as a pace setter in legal education reforms". He conceded in 2017 that he sees the former objective not being achieved. He believed this is because of the absorption of the school's talent by the corporate sector rather than by the grassroot litigation.[46]

Notable people





There are numerous journals published by the students and faculty at NLSIU. Their National Law School of India Review has been cited by the Supreme Court of India in two notable judgments including the Right to Privacy verdict, which is the only student-run law journal of the already few Indian law journals to have been cited by the Supreme Court of India.

These are the journals published by the school:

See also


  1. ^ Out of the total, 56 are core faculty, 3 are adjunct faculty and 34 are visiting faculty
  2. ^ As per section 7 of the Act, "the Chief Justice of India or his nominee who is a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court shall be the visitor of the School."
  3. ^ The intake is expected to be 300 for the session of 2024-29


  1. ^ Financial statement for FY 2021-22
  2. ^ "NLUs – The birth of National Law School". Careers360. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  3. ^ "National Law Universities, Original Intent & Real Founders | Live Law". Live Law. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Articles – Manupatra". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  5. ^ "About NLSIU". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Sudhir Krishnaswamy takes charge as NLSIU's vice-chancellor". Hindustan Times. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  7. ^ Section 2 of The National Law School of India Act, 1986
  8. ^ "CLAT 2023 Seat Allotment: Seat Matrix, Cut Off, Admission". College Dunia. There are 2644 seats for UG Program,914 seats for PG Program
  9. ^ "NLSIU Bangalore will not accept CLAT, to conduct own test for 2020-21, apply now". Hindustan Times. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  10. ^ "NLSIU Inclusion and Expansion Plan 2021-25". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  11. ^ Chacko, Jelsyna (7 January 2023). "25% horizontal reservation for Karnataka domicile students in place: NLSIU responds to State Law Minister". Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  12. ^ "'Freedom of choice': NLSIU radically overhauls LLB course structure, following Nalsar, Oxford, Harvard, NUS into electives style". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  13. ^ "NLSIU Bengaluru to conduct NLSAT 2022 for 3-year LLB programme; All you need to know". Retrieved 22 February 2023. ((cite web)): External link in |last= (help)CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Staff Reporter (31 October 2021). "NLSIU to launch 3-year LLB programme". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  15. ^ "Ph.D in Law". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 7 January 2023. The Ph.D in Law programme is designed for post-graduate students who wish to advance their studies through research in law.
  16. ^ "Master's Programme in Public Policy".
  17. ^ "UGC asks National Law School of India University to rename flagship course". 17 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Online and Hybrid Programmes". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  19. ^ "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2023 (Law)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Education. 5 June 2023.
  20. ^ "India's Best Colleges 2022: Law". India Today. 2022.
  21. ^ "Outlook-ICARE Rankings 2022: Top 13 Government Law Institutes In India". Outlook India. 8 July 2022.
  22. ^ "NIRF 2023: NLSIU best law school for 6th time, IISc retains 2nd spot". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  23. ^ "Best Colleges in India 2023 Ranking, Fees, Courses, Exams and Jobs - India Today". Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  24. ^ "Outlook-ICARE Rankings 2023: Top 13 Government Law Institutes". Outlook.
  25. ^ a b "History". Sri Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library. Retrieved 7 January 2023. The library houses a collection of over 50,000 books and 20,000 journals covering a wide range of general and special subjects, comprising of textbooks, reference books, back volumes of journals and reports, apart from current legal periodicals. Computerized catalogues have been introduced to assist the students and research scholars in locating information in their areas of research.
  26. ^ "Karnataka / Bangalore News : Director thanks Dharam Singh". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 August 2005. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2011. He said that the library inaugurated by Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti has been named after Narayan Rao Melgiri of Gadag, who was a distinguished lawyer and grandfather of Sudha Murthy, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation.
  27. ^ DHNS. "Revamped NLSIU library prioritises access, new-gen tech". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  28. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (11 September 1995). "Information note on UNHCR's activities for refugee law promotion, dissemination and training". UNHCR. Retrieved 19 August 2011. This year, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore.
  29. ^ "United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Chair on Refugee Law". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  30. ^ V. C. Keshava, Exploring Mysore: a complete data map in a special style, V.S.R. Prakashana, 2004
  31. ^ Constitution of the Student Bar Association
  32. ^ "ABC Overview". 14 September 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  33. ^ "About us – Quirk". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  34. ^ "World Debate Website". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  35. ^ "NLS Debate | Organisers". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  36. ^ "Lanka Law School wins NLS Debate". Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  37. ^ "NLS Debate Union is Back". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  38. ^ "NLS Students Teach Student Debaters Verbal Warfare". The Bangalore Mirror. 4 November 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  39. ^ "NLSIU Bangalore wins the 54th Jessup International Moot Court Competition".
  40. ^ "Breaking: NLSIU Bangalore WINS the Jessup world cup of mooting after 14 years".
  41. ^ "International Rounds 2021". 11 March 2021.
  42. ^ "NLSIU makes mooting history: India wins Manfred Lachs for the first time". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  43. ^ "NLS Bangalore wins Manfred Lachs space moot grand slam after 3 years [Update]".
  44. ^ "2017 Lachs Moot Court winners » International Institute of Space Law". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  45. ^ "NLSIU Website, Rhodes Scholarship".
  46. ^ "NLUs – The birth of National Law School". Careers360. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2023. The impact of the NLUs goes beyond conventional legal practice around courts and tribunals. In fact, in the initial period, the entire product was absorbed by the private corporate law firms denying talents to the litigating bar. Even the judicial services did not attract enough of the new set of law graduates. Gradually, a sizeable section migrated to litigative practice in the appellate courts. Even then, the trial courts which needed them most, did not get enough numbers of the new set of lawyers. In fact, this development necessitates a fresh look at the scheme of legal education started in Bangalore in late 1980s. One of the major objects of the National Law School experiment at that time was to strengthen the trial courts with competent judges at the grass roots and to act as a pace setter in legal education reforms. The latter object was completely fulfilled; it is now for legal educators to review the scheme to serve the needs of the litigating public particularly in the rural and tribal areas instead of blindly replicating the Bangalore model of 1980s.
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