Apart from attending law school, enthusiastic law students often take part in various programs such as seminars, workshops, conferences, moot-court competitions and so forth throughout their academic life. Amongst them, very few could get the opportunity of becoming a researcher or to be associated with legal research; but what about others? Does the importance of legal research lies only to the ones who care such and are interested for present time and future career?

While receiving legal education, every law student needs to know the methods of doing research. No matter what career he/she might choose in future, each of them requires possessing a sound knowledge on legal and other multidisciplinary issues. Knowing the methodology of research and actually doing it in different stages of life help a student develop and nurture the required skills of research and a critical vis-à-vis structured perspective of thinking. This sort of ability in research discipline helps a student analysis various fictional as well as real-life legal problems and propose probable sets of solutions for the concerned stakeholders.

In any profession, be it a law practice in chamber and court, teaching law at university, or advocating on legal issues in national and/or international organizations, we need to do research which is a must for showing one’s capability of maximum excellence both from academic and practitioner perspectives.

This is not unusual of hearing about difficulties and challenges that a law graduate often faces in practical life while drafting petition or preparing consultation reports, etc. In Bangladesh, there exist few law schools that train up their students with the skills of legal writing and research methodology. An individual with legal background needs to follow a number of basic rules of legal research on specific areas for writing on any legal issue, publishing an article in a journal, or even drafting a petition for presenting in a court. Arguing with lack of research for a party in the court often seems to be illogical and less attractive to the judge resultantly ending up with losing the case. Again presenting a legal issue in the form of journal article or thesis paper without doing adequate research definitely reduces the credibility of any assertion in the way of developing new jurisprudence relative to a particular legal matter. Readers or anyone will not only lose their interest to go through the paper, but also criticize it for not ensuring the quality and standard that matters the most in legal research.

Some of the law schools in Bangladesh offer a course on research methodology for law students, while the others, being large in number, do not have such a course in their curriculum. Dr. Ridwanul Hoque, an associate professor of law at the University of Dhaka, rightly comments that, “the focus on legal research in law departments is remarkably minimal”. On this, he sadly observes,

Even, legal research is not a compulsory subject in the leading public universities; nor is the subject law and society taught at any university. Law students are not ‘recognized’ as contributors to the university law journals. Nor does any law school have any research centre or specialized centre of legal studies.

Consequently each year a large number of students are graduating with a law degree for sure, but likely without a proper orientation to research and writing skills. Not to forget, however, many law teachers teach the students about the basic tenets of legal research at their own initiatives, which is much appreciated today.

Unlike many other law schools in Asia, Europe and other parts of the world; Bangladeshi law schools are institutionally failing to produce skilled researchers in the country’s legal sector remarkably for a number of years. In research and development area, it has been an alarming situation for not being able to demonstrate a robust and society-specific research outcome in the cutting-edge issues of law, society, development and politics.

Lack of knowledge on research methodology and thus not getting proper opportunities to flourish in their own professions leave intolerable frustration for the law graduates, and eventually a lot of potential young minds loss the opportunity of pursuing any research based Masters’ degree program as well as other higher studies opportunities in the renowned universities worldwide. On the other hand, those who do or even attempt to do legal research, many of them being unaware of research methodology, do not often possess the basic knowledge on legal writing. At times, they unknowingly breach the rules of copyright and legal citation by plagiarizing or copying other research works without even acknowledging the sources of reference. Recently in an event, Dr. Shahdeen Malik, a veteran advocate in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and former director at the School of Law of BRAC University, with utmost anguish opined that law schools in Bangladesh are nowadays failing to produce skilled and efficient researchers. Pointing to the inadequacy of well-researched text books on legal issues currently authored by the Bangladeshi researchers, he criticized the publication of student written text books which are mostly plagiarized and not up to the mark of scholarly excellence. Being an editor of BILIA’s Bangladesh Law Journal, Dr. Malik also viewed that most of the submissions for the law journal do not pass the test of being unique, well-written and adequately researched. Oftentimes, the editorial team has to reject submissions for being plagiarized, unacceptably paraphrased and the least researched. Chairing in a day-long workshop on legal writing and research methodology organized Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA) on August 8, 2015, Dr. Malik urged the law schools in Bangladesh to introduce a full-fledged course on legal research methodology for the betterment of both law students and academics in future.

In this workshop, Dr. Md. Rizwanul Islam, an assistant professor at the BRAC Law School, talked on the topic titled The Perils of Plagiarism and Needs for Adequate Attribution in Legal Research Works. His eloquent and resourceful presentation made the participants realize the present scenario of legal research in Bangladesh and find out the critical issues that might lead to plagiarism in legal writing. Elaborately lecturing on the topics of plagiarism, paraphrasing, using other’s ideas without sufficient attribution, quality of sources cited matter and reference style, Dr. Islam signified legal research for both law students and professionals. By conducting few exercises with an engagement of the participants and exhibiting suitable examples, he underscored the point of how to improve the condition of legal research in Bangladesh. He also hoped that law students will be more interested to engage themselves in exercising legal research for bringing a better prospect of development in jurisprudential knowledge and discourse in our education system. Appreciating the hope, we too expect that our law schools will be a workable avenue to train up the law students with the fundamental knowledge of legal research and writing for the specific purpose of improving legal education’s quality in Bangladesh.


Naureen Rahim, “The Practice of Legal Research to Improve Legal Education in Bangladesh” (DHLR Blog, 14 August 2015) http://www.dhakalawreview.org/blog/2015/08/legal-research-in-bangladesh-914

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