Full History of CLAT: When, How, Why, Evolution

When was CLAT introduced? How did CLAT exam start? What was the purpose of starting the CLAT exam? What is the history of CLAT?

These are some of the top questions in everyone’s mind when wondering about the history of CLAT or Common Law Admission Test. It is the most popular and difficult law entrance exam in India for law aspirants to get admission to National Law Universities (NLUs)

There are several benefits of graduating from NLUs, such as excellent placement offers, job preference, moot court facilities, competitive environment, etc. That’s why law aspirants from all over the country participate in offline or online CLAT coaching to prepare better and crack the exam. 

Now, let’s talk about the full history of CLAT exam.

The First National Law University (NLU) in India

The establishment of the first NLU in India marked a significant change in how legal education was approached in the country. This was the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), set up in Bangalore in 1987. 

It was the first of its kind, aimed at providing top-notch legal education combined with practical experience, setting a high standard for future law schools.

NLSIU Bangalore introduced a new five-year integrated law degree program, replacing the older three-year law degree. This program was designed to give students a thorough grounding in legal studies combined with hands-on experience through internships, moot court sessions, and other practical learning methods. 

The idea was to prepare students not just academically but also to handle real-life legal challenges effectively.

The success of NLSIU as a top legal institution inspired several other states in India to establish their own NLUs, which followed similar educational standards. 

These universities aim to equip students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills, shaping them into capable legal professionals ready to enter the demanding field of law.

When Was CLAT Started?

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) was first introduced in 2008. This was after the decision made by the Supreme Court of India in 2006, which recognized the need for a single unified entrance test for all the NLUs in India, except for the National Law University in Delhi, which conducts its own test.

Upcoming CLAT Exams:

Why Was CLAT Exam Introduced?

Before CLAT was introduced, each National Law University (NLU) in India conducted its own entrance exam. This was hard for students because they had to prepare for different exams for each university. This process was not only stressful but also expensive and time-consuming.

  • Seeing these problems, there was a need for a simpler system. The idea was to have one common exam for all NLUs. This common exam would make the admission process easier and fairer for students all over India.
  • In 2006, a parent filed a legal case asking for a single test for all NLUs. The Supreme Court of India agreed and asked for one common test. This led to the creation of the CLAT in 2008.
  • CLAT made it easier for students to apply to multiple law schools with one test. It helped save time, money, and effort and made the competition fairer. The exam tests students’ abilities in areas like legal reasoning, logical reasoning, and general knowledge.

History of CLAT Exam (Timeline)

The responsibility of conducting the CLAT exam was on NLUs themselves in the initial phase. Each year, a different NLU used to conduct the test. 

Here is a structured table presenting the host institutions for the CLAT exam from 2008 to 2019:

YearHost Institution
2008National Law School of India University, Bangalore
2009NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
2010National Law Institute University, Bhopal
2011The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
2012National Law University, Jodhpur
2013Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
2014Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
2015Dr Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow
2016Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
2017Chanakya National Law University, Patna
2018National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
2019National Law University Odisha, Cuttack

Know Why NLUs are worth the hard work.

Introduction of Consortium of NLUs

The pattern of conducting the exam changed in 2019. In March 2019, a new committee of vice-chancellors of all the National Law Universities was created, which is known as the Consortium of NLUs. 

Therefore, the CLAT exams from 2019 have been conducted by the Consortium of NLUs.

The CLAT Consortium brought together various National Law Universities (NLUs) across India with the primary goal of overseeing the organization and administration of the CLAT. The formation of the Consortium was a significant step towards improving the coordination and execution of the CLAT exam.

Before the Consortium, the responsibility of conducting CLAT rotated annually among the NLUs, which sometimes led to inconsistencies in how the exam was managed. With the establishment of a permanent secretariat for CLAT in Bangalore in 2018, and the Consortium’s formation, a more structured and stable management system was put in place.

The Consortium consists of representative members from all participating NLUs, except for National Law University, Delhi, which does not use CLAT for admissions. It aims to ensure that the exam is conducted fairly and efficiently each year. The Consortium also looks into the technological aspects of the exam, ensuring that the online testing process runs smoothly.

One of the primary roles of the Consortium is to make collective decisions regarding the exam format, questions, and operational details. It also addresses any issues or disputes that arise during the exam process. 

This collaborative approach helps maintain the quality and integrity of CLAT, ensuring that it remains a fair and reliable gateway for students aspiring to enter prestigious law schools in India.

Useful Tips For You:

Timetable for CLAT Preparation
Self-study Tips for CLAT
How to Read Newspapers for CLAT and Make Notes?
Time Management Tips for CLAT
How to Improve Vocabulary for CLAT

NLU Delhi and AILET

National Law University (NLU) Delhi is a notable exception among the list of NLUs as it does not participate in the CLAT consortium. Instead, NLU Delhi conducts its own entrance test, known as the All India Law Entrance Test (AILET).

NLU Delhi established AILET to manage its admissions independently, aiming to customize the test format and content specifically to its unique academic and administrative criteria. 

AILET is held annually for admission to undergraduate (BA LLB), postgraduate (LLM), and doctoral (PhD) programs offered by NLU Delhi.

A few years ago, NLSIU also showed its intention to conduct a separate entrance exam called the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT). However, the Supreme Court didn’t accept it. 

Know the Difference Between CLAT vs AILET.

FAQs About CLAT History

What is CLAT?

CLAT, or the Common Law Admission Test, is a centralized national level entrance test for admissions to undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) law programmes offered by National Law Universities in India.

When was the first CLAT conducted?

The first CLAT exam was conducted in 2008.

Who conducts CLAT?

CLAT was initially rotated among the participating NLUs. However, a permanent body called the CLAT Consortium was established in 2018, headquartered at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, to oversee the organization and management of the exam.

Which NLU does not participate in CLAT?

NLU Delhi does not participate in CLAT and conducts its own entrance test known as AILET.

Wrapping Up:

The history of CLAT highlights its evolution from a series of individual entrance exams to a unified national test aimed at simplifying the admissions process for law aspirants across India. 

Understanding this evolution can provide valuable context for your CLAT preparation strategy

As you gear up for the exam, consider enhancing your readiness with comprehensive offline or online CLAT coaching by Law Prep Tutorial. With expert guidance personalized to the latest CLAT exam pattern, Law Prep Tutorial ensures you are well-prepared to tackle this exam with confidence and achieve your law school aspirations.

Read Next:

CLAT Eligibility Criteria

CLAT Exam Pattern

CLAT Syllabus

Timetable for CLAT Preparation

Best Books for CLAT Preparation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *