Established in 1966, KERALA LAW ACADEMY (KLA) is a seat of excellence in legal education, consultancy, research and in pioneering law reforms. The Academy’s prestigious institute, “the Kerala Law Academy Law College” is located in Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, India, on a hill of sylvan splendour with a view of the Arabian Sea on one side and the Western Ghats on the other. The liberal ambience of the research wing “Center for Advanced Legal Studies and Research” (CALSAR), is conducive to ignite nascent thoughts and ideals. This finds vivid expression in “Academy Law Review” which has won international acclaim ever since its appearance in print in 1977. The moot teams of the Academy are the flag bearers in renowned international fora. The Academy’s social commitment is imbedded in its socio-legal clinics and consultancy service. The college of law of the Academy is affiliated to the University of Kerala
Some among the unique features of KLA are the following:
- KLA is the only institution from Kerala to get selection to represent India in the prestigious Philip C Jessup International Moot Court Competition, held at Washington D C., USA. KLA has got selection to the Jessup International rounds five times- ie., in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999 &, 2000.
- KLA got selection to represent India in the Stetson International Environment Law Moot Court Competition held at Florida, USA four times, ie., in 2002, 2003, 2005 & 2010. Only other team from Kerala which has got selection to represent India in the Stetson International Competition is NUALS, Kochi, which got selection in 2008.
- KLA is the only institution from Kerala to get selection to represent India in the prestigious Louis M Brown International Client Consulting Competition.
- KLA is the only institution in India which is conducting on a regular basis a National Client Consulting Competition for testing the client interviewing skills of the law students at the national level continuously since 2000. This national competition is into its 11th successful year.
- KLA is the only institution in Kerala to have a Court Centre neighbouring the Court Complex which works as an effective training and Liaison Centre and is unique as it serves as an extended campus and co-ordinating Centre of the Academy between the class rooms and the Court. In 2004, the Court Centre also started a ‘Centre for Clinical Legal Training’ to provide intensive/specialized clinical training to both law students and lawyers.
- The clinical law training provided at the KLA is unparalleled and the best in Kerala as reflected by its national level achievements.
- KLA is the only institution in Kerala to provide the services of two law libraries, one being an advanced research library. KLA library service provide 33 foreign law journals which is among the highest number of foreign law journals available in law colleges/universities in Kerala. (See http://keralalawacademy.in/library.html ).
- KLA provides its students the maximum interface with the top of the legal profession among the law schools/law colleges/universities in Kerala.
- Though a private institution under public trust management, no seat for the 5 year LLB course is reserved as management seat or management quota ie., all seats in the 5 year LLB course are filled on the basis of merit as laid down in the admission norms.
- The All India Moot Court Competition for the KLA trophy conducted by the KLA is the third oldest national moot court competition and with highest participation in India. It is held annually without break since 1990 and is into its 22nd successful year.
The Kerala Law Academy is an organization of distinguished law persons. It is a society and was formed by eminent judges, lawyers & academicians. It is truly secular in all respects and does not represent any sectional, denominational, ethnic, racial or communal interest.
How the principles of law can be developed and grown organically in accordance with the ‘mores of the day’.? What are the frontiers of the creative approaches that can be brought about in the realm of law? How to equip lawyers and law makers with the intellectual and moral adequacies? What are appropriate tools to make a researcher in law and a complete professional law person in the global village in tune with the changing needs of the time? These haunting questions require comparative and deeper study and research of the legal processes in nations and the regular changes in the ethos prevailing in the world of law and to relate law to the larger international and national problems and an organization to answer them. Thus was how the idea of Kerala Law Academy was born. The idea was to have a organization for developing original thinking, scientific inquiry & self study in law and develop professional research and alternative paths of law reforms.
Many persons who were consulted, were discouraging and even skeptical. It is interesting now to recall how some of them finally turned out to be ardent admirers of the Kerala Law Academy.
The Preliminary Steps
On the 6th of October, 1966 this idea was discussed in detail at a meeting of all those who were interested in this new concept. Late Adv. S. Narayanan Potti, (a most respected Senior lawyer who later became the Advocate General of Kerala), Late Adv. Kalathil Velayudhan Nair, Late Adv. Easwara Iyer, (renowned lawyers of the Kerala High Court), Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, (a renowned lawyer who later became the Judge of the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court of India), Adv. K. Chandrasekharan, (a Senior Advocate of Kerala High Court who also became the minister of law in Kerala), Dr. N. Narayanan Nair (an academician), Late Justice P. Subramonian Potti (a renowned lawyer who later became Chief Justice of Kerala and Gujarat), Late Adv. M.M. Abdul Khader, (an eminent lawyer who became Advocate General of Kerala) Justice V. Sivaraman Nair, (a renowned lawyer who later became judge of the Kerala High Court, and M.M. Cheriyan attended that meeting held at the residence of Adv. S. Narayanan Potti. It was decided to form the Kerala Law Academy as a society and Dr. N. Narayanan Nair was authorized to make preliminary arrangements for its registration.
The Society was registered on 17th October 1966 under the Travancore – Cochin Literacy Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act (XII of 1955). Adv. S. Narayanan Potti was the President and Dr. N. Narayanan Nair, the Secretary.
The members of the first Executive Committee were the following.
- Adv. Kalathil Velayudhan Nair,
- Adv. S. Easwara Iyer,
- Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer,
- Adv. K. Chandrasekharan,
- Justice P. Subramonian Potti,
- Adv. S. Narayanan Potti (President)
- Dr. N. Narayanan Nair (Secretary).
The Governing Council of the Academy included the following persons in addition to the members of the Executive Committee:
- Adv. M. M. Abdul Khader
- Mr. M. Prabhakaran
- Justice V. Sivaraman Nair
- Mr. M. M. Cheriyan
Mr. V. Viswanathan, the then Governor of Kerala, was the patron-in-chief and Mr. E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the then Chief Minister, the Patron. The Panel of Chairmen included Justice T. S. Krishnamoorthy Aiyer, Justice K. Sadasivan, Mrs. K.R. Gowri, the then Minister of Law, Mr. C.H. Mohammed Koya, the then Minister for Education, and Prof. Samuel Mathai, the then Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University.
The formal inauguration of the Academy was done on 21st October, 1967 by Mr. E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, at a colourful function attended by the cream of the society and prominent lawyers, jurists and law teachers from all over the State.
The growth of the Academy, as then envisaged, was three dimensional. A department for legal education, another department for legal publication and a third one for legal advice were proposed to be established and developed. It was decided that the Department of Legal Education should be launched first, with the starting of a Law College.
The Kerala Law Academy Law College
In 1968 the Academy made a request to the Government of Kerala to lease out an area of eleven acres and forty nine cents at Peroorkada, Trivandrum for establishing the Kerala Law Academy Law College. Mainly owing to the keen interest of Mr. M.N. Govindan Nair, who was the Minister for agriculture then, in the development of the institution, this request was granted by the Government. Mr. E.M.S. Namboodiripad, who was the Chief Minister, Mrs. K.R. Gowri and Mr. C.H. Mohammed Koya (who were ministers in charge of Revenue and Education respectively) were also very helpful in this regard. The Academy took possession of the land and buildings on 29th February, 1968. The lease, which was initially for a period of three years was extended to thirty years in 1976 and the land was assigned to Kerala Law Academy in 1985. In this regard, special mention must be made of the helpful attitude taken by the members of the Cabinet, especially Mr. Baby John, the Minister for Revenue and Mr. Vakkom Purushothaman, the then Minister for Agriculture.
In 1968, the University of Kerala granted affiliation to Kerala Law Academy Law College for providing instruction for the LL.B Course. The Syndicate at its meeting held on 26th July 1968, after considering the reports of the Inspection Commissions, resolved to grant provisional sanction, “to the Kerala Law Academy for starting a Law College at Peroorkada, Trivandrum during 1968-69 providing instruction for the First Year LL.B. (Part time) course in the first instance with 100 (one hundred) students who are under regular employment.” Accordingly regular classes for the 1st LL.B. Course commenced on 9th September 1968.
Later, the Academy’s request for granting sanction to start day classes also in the College was granted by the University of Kerala. Accordingly a batch of 100 students was admitted to the 1st LL.B. (Day) class of the College and regular day classes commenced on 22nd September, 1970. Justice Shri. P. Govinda Menon, Retired Judge of the High Court of Kerala, was the first principal of the college and acted as the Director of Legal Studies from 1969-1976. Presently the college offers regular full time and part time LL.B. courses.
In October, 1975 the University of Kerala kindly accorded sanction to start first year LL.M. Course in the College with an intake of six students. The sanctioned intake has been increased since then. The specializations now offered are Administrative Law and International Law.
In 1984, sanction was granted to start the Five Year LL.B. Degree Course (regular full time course) in the College. The first batch of students admitted to the course completed the course in 1988-89.
The University accorded sanction to the College during 1995-96 to start a Post graduate course in Business Law named Masters in Business Law (M.B.L.). The first batch of students admitted to the course completed the course in 1997-98.
A long felt need of the Academy, a sine que non of its developmental activities, was fulfilled when the Government of Kerala, responding to the request of the Academy, decided to grant assignment of the premises leased out to the Academy Law College in 1968. The land was assigned to the Academy by the Government in 1984. This has paved the way for initiating development projects of a permanent nature including construction of buildings.
Immediately after the assignment of the land for the Kerala Law Academy Law College an ambitious project for the development of the College campus was drawn up in 1984 and has been implemented. The project, included the construction of hostels, faculty members’ quarters, staff quarters, guest house, library rooms, separate library block, open air auditorium, seminar and conference halls, multi-purpose stadium, and a building complex to accommodate a bank, consumer store, tea house, canteen etc. Many other projects are in progress. A peculiar feature to be emphatically stated is that the implementation of these projects is substantially supported by the generous help and co-operation of the students and well-wishers of the Academy.