Sunday, October 30, 2011 | By: CHIMI DORJI

The intricacies of learning laws

Nothing seems as easy as sitting on the cozy sofa and sipping a cup of coffee so comfortably. Other than the task of putting hand to mouth everything is challenging. Studying, who finds easy actually? I’m sure irrespective of kind of course that the students opt to pursue, every student would lament thier hardships, difficulties and challenges of studying it. Ask engineering and architecture students, doubtlessly they would definitely reply “sucks with designs”. Medical students would also have something to lament. Same may be applied to other courses across the board, no matter technical course or general course. The law students are no exception for lamenting and roaring of hardships and intricacies of learning the laws. What I consider challenges to me may not be other law students. So what I would narrate through this article is not in any way generalization of intricacies of all law students across the world over, it is just the reflection of my challenges as a law student. I’m of the belief that challenges that the law students face may vary from College to College for different college has different syllabus and question models.
Way back in 2007 I decided to study law without even knowing the expansion of the abbreviation, LL.B. I knew Law is completely theoretical course and I have to deal with hell lot of theories and principles but I did not have had realized the realities of law students completely especially Bhutanese Students as foreigners in India. When I joined to University for the first time, for few classes I was lost to different legal jargons and basic fundamentals of law .It was alien to me but not same to my Indian mates. All of them had already studied law before for their entrance exam for years or at least six months to one year .While I had to begin with ABC of law they had to begin with beyond the ABC of law. I had all reason to crack my head in the beginning for few classes. I remember I even cursed myself many times, why the hell I have chosen this course. I was perturbed how I would manage to get through even the first semester if I go on cracking my head nonstop. But with time, after a month I got adapted with the class environment, the way of teaching, few of legal jargons, and so on. That was my biggest relief at the threshold of the journey of learning the laws which was an inspiration and encouragement to pursue the journey further with all endeavours.  I did it, I got through the first semester successfully without any backlogs despite I had tough time to get adapted with the course.
Succeeding the first semester until fourth semester (II Year) I should say it was okay as the course is alloy of law subjects as well as social science like History, Political, Economics, and Sociology. The realities of the law students in the University where I study now begin from III year, VI Semester. I say realities of the law students because from third year onwards no social science, completely law subjects. Besides other areas of learning the laws, one of the most important inevitable subjects included is case laws. This is must which is the backbone of learning the laws. Through the studying of cases legal intellectuals of the law students can be augmented. Knowing the principles and reading the bare Act alone is not sufficient in learning the laws .Law students should also know how  and when to apply the legal principles .This is achieved through reading the judgments/cases.  The case laws include cases of different facts, whether national, or international, or foreign. Completely law starting from third year means we have to study more laws. More laws mean more case laws. More case laws mean more burdensome and cumbersome for students. Even if there are five cases for each subject, in toto it will come 20 cases for five law subjects . In each case there will be facts, issues, law involved, arguments of both the parties, and decision/judgment. If we are required to know the particular number of cases then we should know all aforementioned details of  each case.  Some cases are as long as 300-400 pages. The length of cases is not a problem Professors summarize for us or we dig out summary from Google. Even remembering the decisions or ruling in the cases  is also not a big problem. But when the cases are turned to huge number involving different subjects under different laws of all five Subjects, everything becomes problematic and laborious. That has been the days I got pissed of many times.
As far as my experience goes beauty of learning laws also resides in case laws only and intricacies and challenges also  in case laws . Beauty in  case laws in the sense that cases are of different facts. Some facts are interesting especially criminal, Law of Torts, and IPRs cases while some are simply funny. Some judgments are drafted so interestingly and articulately like a literature. Reading judgments sometimes feel like reading the novel or the literary articles, so interesting with different facts involved of all kinds. Like reviewing the book after finish reading it, so is in learning laws, we get assignments to read judgments and review it.
Of all other intricacies that I have come across in last four and half years of learning the laws the most challenging one has been remembering the names of the cases. To me it has been really hard and torturing to by heart and remember different case names. Forget about getting into my tiny brain easily some Indian names, hardly I can pronounce it. If case names resembled either of the Bhutanese names that would have been far better to remember it but hardly there has been  any case names of such kind but all are in Indian Names .Just for exam we have to  mug up all case names as many as hundred sometimes. Though in the case what and why was held in the case are important not the names of the case but we cannot simply refer judicial decision without its name. Case names are authorities for all judicial decisions which we must cite when ever we refer judicial decisions. Referring judicial decisions without citing the proper authority is something like providing all details of the person for processing Identity card but forgot to give his name. Without providing name, providing all the details is useless, cannot process the Identity Card. So is the case with referring the decisions without citing the authority, the case names. No recognition at all. We cannot fetch even pass mark merely by referring plain decisions without citing the proper authority. Referring  the decisions without authority is presumed to be concocted decision. Supporting the reasons with citing proper authority is only the means to manage pass mark. If  we fail to mug up those case names then we are gone.
No Professor is kind enough to give marks simply on plain statements and reasons. We are bond to know all names no matter how hard it is to remember. No way  we can escape from mugging up those fucking names as long as we are law students. Some names are too long to remember fully. No matter short or long names, mugging up  and remembering two names for every case, for scores of  cases really sucks!! When some Professors allot unreasonable portions for exams sometimes I wish there is also a system in placed to rate Professors performance not based on how good they teach but based on examination so that we can see their capacity to remember the  cases, whether they are able to remember as many as they wanted us to remember. It seems some of them forget to think that our brains are also human brains only, not the computer brains.
See this time one of Professors has given 95 cases for one subject alone excluding the cases for other three subjects . Some Professors are really crazy or rather acting senseless sometimes . But I took risk and studied selectively around twenty cases.  That too was not easy knowing  every details of the case. But this time  luck favoured my selection. My selection  worked,  all questions were from amongst the cases I have studied selectively. I think I had my enough share. In last four and half years I must have studied at least three thousand cases. I’m really really sick of, of all, mugging up of those fucking case names. It is really hard to remember all kinds of Indian names.
But the best part at times that keeps me moving further in every difficult times of learning laws is that I’m left with only a semester now to complete the course. At the most I’ll have to study 100 cases in four months for three subjects starting from January-April 2012 then I’m done .After that no more  I  have to break my head mugging up  Indian names which has been my most hated part in learning the laws.
For now, since my exam is already over it’s time to go to Bhutan for my last internship and come back happily for the last semester…!!!


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