PESHAWAR: Students of the University of Peshawar law degree programme, who await the announcement of exam results, have moved the Peshawar High Court seeking orders to declare them eligible for enrolment as trainee lawyers or apprentices on the basis of course completion in line with a past practice.

In the joint petition, 33 students of the Law College, University of Peshawar, also requested the court to declare the rules, which prohibit their enrollment on the basis of course completion, arbitrary and discriminatory.

They pleaded that the court should declare the rules especially Rule 108-C of the Pakistan Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Rules, 1976, illegal and that it is not applicable to them retrospectively.

The petitioners, whose lawyer is Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel, said they had enrolled themselves in the three years LLB programme, which was discontinued by the Pakistan Bar Council, in 2016 through a high court order.

Move PHC against rules, delay in results declaration

They said the LLB degree was of three years, while their contemporaries in other provinces had taken exam and had been given the results of LLB final year in Sept 2019.

The petitioners said they sat exams in Jan but the results were delayed and were expected to be declared in Sept 2020 or later.

They said since the announcement of the results of annual LLB programme used to take a long time, the bar councils required the law students to take course completion certificate from their respective colleges and universities on the last exam of the LLB Final Year and register themselves with them for apprenticeship with senior lawyers.

The petitioners said the five years LLB programme later replaced the three-year course, which was later discontinued by the Pakistan Bar Council.

They said the students of semester systems were given exam results in one week to four weeks, whereas the results of annual system in the province took up to eight months.

The petitioners claimed said they were not able to compete with the students of other provinces and university in law scholarships, advocate licence, competitive exams exclusively for law students, judiciary and the worst of all further education due to the negligence of their university.

They said they had to waste two years to get admission to LLM programme within the country and abroad due to the delay in the exam result declaration.

The petitioners said while transition from three year annual programme to five-year semester system took place, they were enrolled in three-year programme through a high court court.

The petitioners said amendments to the rules that changed essential requirement for enrolment as advocates had adversely affected them.

They said under Rule 108-C of the relevant law, an apprentice would begin their apprenticeship with senior lawyers after the passing of LLB final exams and National Testing Service assessment test.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2020