26th Bar Council of India Moot Court Competition Inaugural Address, Townhall, Gandhinagar, Friday, 8 January 2010
Dear dignitaries, colleagues and friends,
It gives me great pleasure in welcoming you all to this 26th Bar Council of India Moot Court Competition being hosted by Gujarat National Law University. I extend our most warm greetings to our Chief Guest Hon Justice Shri Shah who accepted our invitation to address the Inaugural function. GNLU extends its cordial greetings to all dignitaries, office bearers from Bar Council of India and from Bar Council of India Trust, Presidents of Bar Council of various states, dear principals of law colleges of Gujarat, friends and partners from industry, law firms, government departments and most importantly I see today in front of me a wave of energy, a wave of enthusiasm, a wave of creativity in the form of participants from various institutions of the country may please be greeted with our warm welcome.
Today marks an important day, of course all days are equally important. Today, GNLU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University for academic, research, training and extension activities cooperation. Sometimes I wonder whether the institutions are becoming MoU menia, to this we respond in a different way – we taste the water first, carry out some activities and then ink a MoU. Like with the Gujarat Forensic Science University, we provided faculty expertise first to the PDPU and it expressed appreciations for our cooperation, and now we have signed the MoU. I am delighted to inform on behalf of both universities that GNLU and PDPU will organise a global renewable energy conference in November 2010. I am also glad to inform you that the GNLU was invited to contribute to the high level discussion on legal issues of NRI property – an important issue before the Union government. Minister Y. Ravi, Minister S. Khursheed, Hon Justice Laxmanan, former Chairman of the Indian Law Commission, Justice Ebrahim, retired judge of Supreme Court of Zimbabwe and myself, during the plenary presented views and practical solutions. We hope that the GNLU would play an important role in this important legal policy issue area.
Friends, moot court is an extracurricular activity at law universities in which students take part in simulated court proceedings, usually to include drafting briefs and participating in oral argument. In the practical training scheme prescribed for law students by the Bar Council of India, Moot Court practice including preparation of brief and actual argument in similar situations constitutes an important and essential learning experience. The lawyering skills, court craft, professional ethics and approaches to advocacy that the budding lawyers develops through the moot court exercises keep them in good stead when they enter the profession.
In the present context, to promote and inculcate the advocacy skills amongst the budding advocates this Bar Council of India Moot Court Competition offers the finest platform for Moot Court Competition in the country due to the quality, competitiveness and versatility of the participants, the experience and expertise of the judges and the hospitality and warmth extended by the host Institution.
Established in 1981 by the Bar Council of India Trust, this Moot Court Competition has emerged as the most prestigious mooting competition of its kind in India and has played an important role in the promotion of mooting in the country by providing a platform for law students to hone their advocacy skills. The competition is one of the most venerated mooting competitions of India and has over the years given an opportunity to law students across the world to develop plenary skills in the area of advocacy.
Each year the Trust is organising All India Inter-University Moot Court competition in collaboration with one of the Universities in the Country and this is the honour and privilege of GNLU, being the first Institution in the State of Gujarat that has been given this opportunity to host this mega event. I, on behalf of GNLU can assure you that this moot will be one of the finest memorable moot competitions in terms of substance, organization and of course, hospitality for which Gujarat is world famous.
We at GNLU promote mooting as one of the prime academic exercise. It is the policy of our University to encourage the students to participate in as many national and international moot court competitions as possible. The extent of enthusiasm amongst the students can be understood from the fact that in the Academic year 2007-08, the total no of participants in two editions of the Intra-University moot court competitions was more than 400 students. GNLU teams have represented in various national & international moot court competitions and in the last academic year, GNLU has participated in around 40 international and national moot court competitions and “the budding lawyers” which we call GNLU ambassadors have won both at the national and the international level amongst these Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition, Hong Kong, Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition, William C. Vis Moot Court Competition, Surana & Surana International Technology Moot Court Competition, M.M. Singhvi Memorial Moot Court Competition to name a few where GNLU ambassadors have brought laurels to the Institution. To promote the mooting sprite amongst the students, recently, GNLU has successfully organized the 1st GNLU International Law Moot Competition, in 2009. This is what drives us at present, and will continue to drive us in the future endeavors too.
The ethos of imparting education in Gujarat National Law University comprises of a mutual endeavor of the Faculty and the students who become part of our august family after clearing the hurdle of a rigorous and strenuous selection procedure. The cream of the country finds a place amidst us. The University has been in a process of striving for academic and professional excellence in the field of legal studies, research and advocacy.
In this context, I would like to mention few of the recent initiatives taken by GNLU for the overall development in the field of law such as:
Gujarat Bar Council Advocates’ Academy
First of its kind in the country, this Advocates Academy has been established in collaboration with Bar Council of Gujarat and Gujarat National Law University to provide the best platform for continuous education not only for the young Advocates but also for veterans to make them abreast with the latest development in the field of law. We are thankful to the leadership of the Gujarat Bar Council, including the former Chairman Vijay Patel, for taking the initiative. We have already started giving training.
Capacity building of Law Colleges in Gujarat
Capacity building is another hallmark of GNLU. GNLU will operate at three levels state, national and international level. At state level, GNLU will take initiative and assist our 31 law colleges to contribute to raise their education, research and training standards. In this regard, we will invite and involve principles / representatives of law colleges in GNLU events on a regular basis. This will give them opportunity to directly interact with national and international legal experts and resources. A fine model framework has emerged over the last year how the GNLU can assist the law colleges to raise overall standards of education, research, training and extension activities. Friends, we firmly believe, if we will make some useful contribution to the whole process, especially the law colleges at grass root level from where India draws thousands of lawyers every year and who are also drawn after necessary experience into district judiciary, rising to top, GNLU will have made an indefinite impact on the map of legal education in the whole country, not only Gujarat. With the continuous encouragement and support from the respective departments of Gujarat, we believe that 2010 will have some concrete achievements in place.
First time in the history of India that a state is having its own law journal – true to its commitment, GNLU together with practitioners, academicians, judges, scholars, and all those who are interested in future of legal education, scholarship and policy-contribution, have already prepared the first issue which will be launched in near future. Each state has to offer so much on legal scholarship, but up until now, we were simply and deploring the state of affairs. I am sure our colleagues from Bar Council of India and Bar Council of various states, will support our endeavours by spreading and encouraging national law universities in their state to help the entire state in bringing out legal scholarship and research. We stand ready for any help and guidance you require.
GNLU, true to its three-tiered approach to education and research, has started foreign law courses and as we are meeting, this month, professors from China, Spain, Italy and France will be taking courses to teach our students legal and judicial system. Thus, GNLU students would have acquired knowledge and training in national and international legal systems.
Centers of Excellence
We have already established the Center for Food Security, Center for Foreign Relations and to assist our more than 25 million NRIs, we will be establishing a centre of private international laws so we can provide research and other legal assistance on issues of marriages, divorces, adoption of children, commercial and other enforcement of courts awards and decrees like matter.
We all talk about globalization, industrial growth, acquisitions, and mergers but how serious are we with our agriculture and food economy laws. GNLU will have a dedicated centre to study the laws which none of the national law universities have, thus, we do not want to specialize in “glamorous” or “easily marketable” courses but we are taking a serious and broad visionary approach to our education. Sport is becoming a hot industry but we do not even have a comprehensive sports law manual. Now that IPL, ICL are coming in big ways, Indian are making us proud in various Olympic and world events, we need a systematic attempt to study the “legal infrastructure” which govern and can contribute to our sports industry, sportsmen and women and hence GNLU Centre for Sports Law. Last but not the least, GNLU Centre for Corporate and Investment will provide dedicated assistance to our corporate houses on contracts, acquisition, mergers, and securitizations, etc.
Lot more is on plate, our Swarnim Gujarat Legal Reform Project to help state and judiciary to reduce pendancy of cases, various training programmes under the auspices of the Union Home Ministry, such as training to Inspector General of Police on prison management, District Superintendent of Polices on criminology for two years, mediation training programmes in each zone of Gujarat, mediation training for GNLU students, foreign language courses for GNLU students, publication of research trends in legal areas by GNLU faculty, recruitment of our second batch students in each and every sector needing legal services – in sum a truly vibrant, exciting, working on-the-toes months and year ahead.
We at the GNLU with motivated staff and committed students aim to provide best legal service to the nation and the world at large and I am thankful to all faculty members, administration staff members, students and our caterer, who I hope will provide nice warm soup and delicious dishes next few days and our press representatives for coverage through whom we can reach out to the larger masses of the country who can be benefited by enlightened legal education, research and training.
I hope all the participants will enjoy their stay in Gandhinagar and will have excellent learning experience in next two days.
Bimal N. Patel