The Path to Legal Education Redefined
The Sri Lanka Law College (SLLC) has introduced a groundbreaking fee structure, sparking discussions and concerns among the Law Students’ Union of Sri Lanka (LSUSL). However, it is crucial to understand that these changes weren’t hasty decisions made solely by the SLLC. Instead, they were the result of careful deliberation by the Council of Legal Education (CLE), which includes representation from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) itself.
A Balanced Approach
BASL President, Kaushalya Nawaratne, has emphasized that the fee revisions made by the SLLC were in response to the prevailing economic circumstances. According to Nawaratne, as one of the leading professional bodies in the country, the SLLC needed to align its fees with those charged by other professional entities. The decision-making process involved meticulous evaluation and comparative analysis, ensuring a fair and balanced approach.
An Evolution in Fees
The revised fee structure has implications for various aspects of legal education at the SLLC. For instance, the General Entrance Examination fee, previously Rs. 6,000, has now increased to Rs. 15,000, representing a significant adjustment of 250%. Similarly, the preliminary year fee has risen from Rs. 18,900 to Rs. 67,500, marking an increase of 357%.
A Holistic Reflection
The fee revisions encompass not only the preliminary year but also the intermediate and final years. The intermediate year fee has risen from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 40,500 (a 270% increase), while the final year fee has increased from Rs. 19,500 to Rs. 55,500 (a 284% increase). Additionally, various other fees such as practical training, examination, late registration, renewal, late exam registration, medical and non-medical withdrawal, transcript, and studentship and visa confirmation fees have also been adjusted significantly.
The Bigger Picture
The Sri Lanka Law College holds a unique place as the sole legal institution in the country where aspiring attorneys-at-law (AAL) can enroll. Established in 1874 under the Council of Legal Education, it acts as the gateway to legal practice in Sri Lanka. To become a practicing lawyer, aspiring law students must successfully complete the SLLC’s comprehensive examinations, followed by a practical training course and approximately six months of apprenticeship.
As the legal landscape in Sri Lanka continues to evolve, it is essential for aspiring lawyers to adapt and embrace the changing dynamics of legal education. While the revised fees have sparked debates, it is crucial to recognize that these decisions were made collectively, with careful consideration of the nation’s economic circumstances and a comparative analysis of fees charged by other professional entities. Rather than viewing this as an abrupt change, it is a step towards ensuring the sustainability and quality of legal education in Sri Lanka.
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