LAHORE: A Lahore High Court full bench on Friday suspended five-year LLB programme at all private law colleges affiliated to universities and also restored evening classes of LLB.

However, the bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah allowed the universities to run five-year LLB programme at their constituent law colleges.

A commission formed by the court to examine quality of legal education imparting by the institutions in Punjab had expressed concern over the output of five-year programme.

In its report, commission chairman Anwar Kamal found a total lack of coordination between universities, Higher Education Commissions (federal and provincial) and the provincial bar councils in the matter of affiliating law colleges.

The commission said five-year syllabus also gave rise to certain anomalies as the first two-year courses were not law related, being political science, sociology, English and Arabic. It said the three-year remaining syllabus was identical to earlier three-year LLB course.

The commission expressed concern at the syllabus and pointed out that there was no exit strategy for the students who had opted for five-year programme and they had no option but to complete the programme or to drop out with no credit.

It recommended that the universities should be directed to grant affiliation to only those colleges meeting minimum standards set by the Pakistan Bar Council, HECs and universities at the time of evaluation and not left to be met at a later date.

The bench adjourned hearing for a date to be fixed by the registrar office with an observation that the order of the suspending the five-year programme would be enforced in new admissions.

Several law students had filed petitions challenging the five-year programme and age limit policy implemented on the proposal of the PBC.

Advocate Safdar Shaheen Pirzada argued on behalf of the petitioners that it was the fundamental right of every citizen to be educated in law or in any other profession and no rule could be made to discourage people from getting higher education especially by fixing the age limit.

The bench had struck down the age-limit policy and formed the commission to evaluate results of the five-year LLB programme.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2017