ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has completely banned evening classes being offered at all law colleges/universities across Pakistan, giving guidelines for the improvement of law education.“There shall be a complete ban on evening classes being offered at all law colleges/universities across Pakistan. There would also be introduction of Special Equivalence Examination for law graduates of foreign universities,” says the judgment issued by the apex court in the matter related to the improvement of law education in the country. The verdict has been authored by Justice Umar Ata Bandial. The other members of bench are Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.The order has also banned admissions to three-year LLB programmes. A five year LLB programme shall be introduced in September 2019, it added. “The current three years’ LLB programme shall be phased out and law colleges throughout Pakistan shall not admit students to their three years LLB programme after December 31, 2018.”The order further said that a university that neither offers a law programme nor is recognised by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) shall not grant unauthorised affiliation to any institution pretending to be a law college. Accordingly, these law colleges shall immediately be closed down for the reason that their affiliating university/Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Benazirabad is not recognised or authorised by the PBC to offer an LLB programme: Leons Law College, Intelligentia Law College, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Law College, Ali Law College and Shah-e-Ali Law College, says the order.Similarly, the court also said that no law graduate from any foreign university recognised by the PBC shall be allowed to take the Law Graduate Assessment Test (LAW–GAT) unless he or she passes a Special Equivalence Examination for law graduates of foreign universities which shall be held periodically. “LAW-GAT of law graduates seeking enrolment to the Bar shall be held on quarterly basis by HECP as the executing institution throughout Pakistan based on a question bank prepared for the Assessment Test.”The order added that admission to LLM and PhD programmes by an authorised law college/ university/institution shall be granted on the criteria laid down by HECP, including, the ceiling on the number of students fixed for admission to such programmes. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HECP) National Curriculum Review Committee along with the representative of the PBC sub-committee shall finalise the curriculum for CMA #1864 of 2010. Five years LLB programme to be run on the basis of an annual or semester system of examinations.The adjustment of law students who are affected by the disaffiliation of their law colleges shall be pursued by the concerned affiliating universities which shall be responsible to assure that such students are enabled to pursue their on-going LLB programme until completion.An Implementation/Monitoring Committee for enforcing the directions given herein shall be constituted by the PBC, which shall be chaired by HECP chairman or a senior functionary nominated by him.The court said that the rule of law in our country is bedrock of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.“The judicature has a Constitutional duty to enforce the rule of law to safeguard the Constitution. In our legal system, the courts perform dispute resolution in accordance with the Constitution and the substantive and procedural law laid down there under. The system flourishes by positive and productive cooperation between the Bar and the Bench for the ascertainment of the truth and decision of controversies according to the relevant and applicable law. An independent, competent, honest and industrious judicature requires an equally independent, dynamic, honest and dedicated Bar in order to effectively provide justice in accordance with law to all members of the society.”The court also noted that over the years, the legal profession has attracted more and more people as a career of choice. This has led to a growing demand for institutions imparting legal education to train lawyers for the Bar and the judiciary.Notwithstanding that the standards of proficiency for entry to the Bar since the last 45 years is regulated by Legal Practitioners & Bar Councils Act, 1973, careful monitoring, supervision and enforcement of such standards has been lacking due to complacency and neglect.Published in Daily Times, September 9th 2018.