Common Law Admission Test

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Common Law Admission Test
TypePen and Paper based
Developer / administratorCLAT Consortium; Bar Council of India
Knowledge / skills testedLegal Reasoning, Legal General Knowledge, Logical reasoning, English Comprehension, General knowledge, Quantitative Techniques & Mathematics, Current Affairs
PurposeEntrance to National Law Universities, Self-financed law colleges and PSUs
Duration2 Hours
Score / grade range-37.5 to 150
Score / grade validity1 year
Restrictions on attemptsNone
Countries / regionsIndia
Annual number of test takers77,000 (approx.)
Prerequisites / eligibility criteriaSenior Secondary Exam [High School] in any stream (for UG courses)
Graduation in law ( for PG courses)
Fee4,000 INR
Scores / grades used byNational Law Universities, Private Law Colleges, PSU's
Qualification rateApp. 3%

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralized national level entrance test for admissions to twenty two National Law Universities (NLU) in India.[1] Most private and self-financed law schools in India also use these scores for law admissions. Public sector undertakings in India like ONGC, Coal India, BHEL, Steel Authority of India, Oil India etc. use CLAT Post Graduation ( CLAT PG) scores for recruitment of legal positions in the companies.

The test is taken after the Higher Secondary Examination or the 12th grade for admission to integrated under-graduate degree in Law (BA LLB) and after Graduation in Law for Master of Laws (LL.M) programs offered by these law schools. It is considered as one of the toughest entrance examinations in India with the acceptance rate being as low as 3 percent.[2][3]


Before the introduction of Common Law Admission Test, the National Law Universities conducted their own separate entrance tests, requiring the candidates to prepare and appear separately for each of these tests. The schedule of the administration of these tests sometimes conflicted with the other or with other major entrance tests such as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. This caused students to miss tests and experience much stress.[4]

There are twenty-three National Law Universities in India, the first of which is the National Law School of India University, which admitted its first batch of students in 1987. Out of twenty three, the National Law University, Delhi conducts its own separate entrance test known as All India Law Entrance Test.[5] With the emergence of other law schools, which also sought to conduct their admission tests at around the same time, students faced a hard time preparing for them. From time to time this issue to conduct a common entrance exam to reduce the burden of the students to give multiple test was raised, but given the autonomous status of each law school, there was no nodal agency to co-ordinate action to this regard.[6]

The matter drew national attention when a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Varun Bhagat against the Union of India and various National Law Universities in the Supreme Court of India in 2006. The Chief Justice of India directed the Union of India to consult with the National Law Universities to formulate a common test. The move was strongly supported by the Bar Council of India.[7][8]

Given the lack of a central nodal authority to bring forth a consensus on the issue, the Ministry of Human Resources Development, (Government of India) and the University Grants Commission of India organised a meeting of the Vice-Chancellors of seven National Law Universities along with the Chairman of the Bar Council of India. After a few such meetings, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Vice-Chancellors of the seven National Law Universities on 23 November 2007 to conduct a common admission test. The Common Law Admission Test was to be conducted each year by each of the law colleges and the responsibility of conducting the exam was to be rotated and given on the basis of seniority in the establishment. Nonetheless, the matter has not been resolved completely as there are other national law universities that were not taking part in CLAT. However, finally in 2015, a fresh MoU was signed by the sixteen National Law Universities, except for National Law University, Delhi for the CLAT 2015 being conducted by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow whereby all the National Law Universities are now part of the centralized admission process without anyone being left out.[9]

The Consortium of National Law Universities was established on 19 August 2017 with the aim of improving the standard of legal education in the country and justice system through legal education with Prof. R. Venkata Rao, erstwhile Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU as President and Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor, NALSAR, as Vice-President.[10]


Only Indian nationals and NRIs can appear in the test. The foreign nationals desirous of taking admission to any course in any of the participating Law Universities may directly contact the concerned University having seats for foreign nationals.[11] The Consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs) releases the CLAT eligibility criteria mentions details regarding the minimum educational qualification, minimum marks and age limit.[12]

The eligibility requirements are as follows:

Under-Graduate Courses[edit]

Senior Secondary School/Intermediate (10+2) or its equivalent certificate from a recognized Board with not less than 45% marks in aggregate (40% in case of SC and ST candidates). There is no upper age restriction for the test.[13]

Post-Graduate Courses[edit]

LL. B/B. L. Degree or an equivalent degree from a recognized University with not less than 50% marks in aggregate (45% in case of SC and ST candidates). The candidates who have passed the qualifying degree examination through supplementary/ compartment and repeat attempts are also eligible for appearing in the test and taking Admission provided that such candidates will have to produce the proof of having passed the qualifying examination with fifty-five/fifty percent marks, as the case may be, on the date of their admission or within the time allowed by the respective universities.[13]

Exam Pattern[edit]

This law entrance exam is of two hours duration. The CLAT question paper consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. There are five sections in CLAT exam paper which are:[14]

  • English including Comprehension
  • Current affairs including General Knowledge
  • Legal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Techniques (Maths)

All the questions will be paragraph-based starting from CLAT 2020. One paragraph will be followed by 5-6 questions. The break up of marks is generally as follows :


Number of Questions[edit]

English Language 28-32 questions 28 - 32
Current Affairs, including General Knowledge 35-39 questions 35 - 39
Legal Reasoning 35-39 questions 35 - 39
Logical Reasoning 28-32 questions 28 - 32
Quantitative Techniques 13-17 questions 13 - 17
Total 150 150

Marking Scheme: For every correct answer, aspirants are given one mark and for each wrong answer 0.25 marks are deducted from their total score.

List of National Law Universities[edit]

The list of National Law Universities in India according to their year of establishment :

  1. National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  2. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
  3. National Law Institute University, Bhopal
  4. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
  5. National Law University, Jodhpur, Jodhpur
  6. Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
  7. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
  8. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow
  9. National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
  10. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
  11. Chanakya National Law University, Patna
  12. National Law University Odisha, Cuttack
  13. Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam
  14. National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi
  15. National Law School and Judicial Academy, Guwahati
  16. Tamil Nadu National Law University, Trichy
  17. Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
  18. Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur
  19. Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad
  20. Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla
  21. Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur
  22. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat

Method of allocation[edit]

The CLAT form provides the students with a preference list.[15] Each student fills the preference list, according to the colleges he/she desires.[16] On the basis of these preferences and ranks obtained, students are allocated colleges. As the NLUs are established by the respective state governments, therefore most NLUs also have reservations for their domiciled candidates.[17]

Conducting organisation[edit]

The first CLAT Core Committee consisting of Vice-Chancellors of the seven participating NLUs at that time decided that the test should be conducted by rotation in the order of their establishment.[18] Accordingly, the first CLAT was conducted in 2008 by the National Law School of India University.[6] Subsequently, CLAT-2009, CLAT-2010, CLAT-2011, CLAT-2012, CLAT-2013, CLAT-2014, CLAT-2015, CLAT-2016, CLAT-2017, CLAT-2018 CLAT-2019 and CLAT-2020 have been conducted[18] by NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, National Law Institute University, The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, National Law University, Jodhpur, Hidayatullah National Law University, Gujarat National Law University, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Chanakya National Law University, National University of Advanced Legal Studies[19] and National Law University Odisha[20] respectively.[18] However, from 2019 , CLAT is conducted by Consortium of NLUs, a body consisting of Vice-chancellors of all the NLU's, which was formed in March, 2019.[21]


CLAT-2009, which was scheduled to be held on 17 May 2009 was rescheduled to 31 May 2009 due to leak of question papers.[22]

CLAT-2011 candidates were disappointed with the standard of exam, as up to 12 questions in the various sections had underlined answers due to the oversight of the organisers and students also found the paper lengthy in comparison to the time limit provided (i.e. 2 hours).[23]

CLAT-2012 was marred by a number of controversies, which includes allegations of setting questions out of syllabus and out of the pre-declared pattern.[24] The declared rank list also contained an error, due to which the first list was taken down and a fresh list was put up.[25] The declared question-answer keys contained several errors, which resulted in petitions being filed by the aggrieved students in different High Courts.[26][27]

CLAT-2014 was conducted by GNLU, Gandhinagar and was also heavily criticized for being poorly conducted[28] with results being withdrawn and declared again.[29] Even lawsuits had been filed for re-examination.[30] The uploaded OMRs were then allowed to be physically verified in the GNLU Campus after students demanded the same.

CLAT-2017 the English paper had several errors.[31]

CLAT-2018 students approached the Supreme Court since there were server problems during the examination. However the Court refused to order a re-examination.[32]

In 2020, NLSIU announced that it would be withdrawing from CLAT, and conducting its own entrance test, the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT).[33] However, the Supreme court of India struck down the separate entrance test conducted by NLSIU and ordered it to re-join CLAT.[34]

In 2021, it was alleged that several questions in the Mathematics section were incorrect, with one question considering a person's expenditure to be 105% of their income. One question in the legal reasoning section was withdrawn after heavy criticism. Four questions were withdrawn.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CLAT 2022". Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Top 10 Toughest Exams in India". 8 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Why are student suicides on the rise? Ask any teen applying for CLAT, JEE, NEET, you'll know". 22 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Why CLAT" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  5. ^ "NLS History". Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  6. ^ a b "CLAT 2008 Information Brochue" (PDF). pp. 3–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  7. ^ "CLAT History". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 11 January 2008. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008.
  8. ^ "About CLAT". Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  9. ^ Shrivastava, Prachi (3 November 2014). "NLUs enter into new CLAT MoU, ensuring full participation of all 16 NLUs (except NLU Delhi)". LegallyIndia. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Common Law Admission Test - Instructions". Common Law Admission Test Core Committee. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  12. ^ "CLAT eligibility criteria".
  13. ^ a b "Eligibility". Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  14. ^ "CLAT 2022". Retrieved 27 September 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "CLAT Seat Allotment 2020 (Round 1, 2, 3) - Download Here". 5 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  16. ^ "CLAT Counselling 2020, Seat Allotment – Know Admission Procedure Here". 20 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Common Law Admission Test - CLAT". Collegedunia. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  18. ^ a b c "About CLAT | What is CLAT | CLAT Entrance Exam | Clat History". Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  19. ^ Shrivastava, Prachi (14 May 2018). "CLAT 2018 was 98.5% smooth, says Nuals Kochi, promises to investigate, but many of 59,300+ candidates faced problems, some filed police complaints". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  20. ^ "CLAT 2019 to be conducted today: Here is all you need to know". India Today. 25 May 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Consortium of NLUs". Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Law admission test postponed after paper leak". DNA. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  23. ^ "Yesterday's CLAT aspirants in a tizzy over difficulty, strange underlines". Legally India. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  24. ^ Shrivastava, Prachi. "CLAT to be PILed as NLU-J shocks with 2012 paper mismatch with prescribed syllabus". Legally India. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  25. ^ Ganz, Kian. "Download new, reshuffled 2012 CLAT University Allotment; NUJS now tops NLIU in prefs again". 1 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  26. ^ Answers underlined in a part of CLAT paper
  27. ^ "CLAT committee release flawed CLAT 2012 answer key, Students baffled". Archived from the original on 15 June 2012.
  28. ^ Ganz, Kian (6 June 2014). "CLAT results still wrong & mixed up claim students, despite GNLU's new 'reconciliated'(sic) results". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  29. ^ Times News Network (6 June 2014). "After the botch-up, CLAT results revised". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  30. ^ Legally India (9 June 2014). "Update: CLAT to respond to challenge by 18 June | CLAT taker files legal challenge, seeks fresh exam and halt to counselling". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  31. ^ Tyagi, Akshat (19 May 2017). "CLAT 2017: A Case of a Failed Question Paper". The Quint. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  32. ^ Jain, Mehal (11 June 2018). "CLAT 2018: Supreme Court Rules Out Retest". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  33. ^ "NLSIU Bangalore will not accept CLAT, to conduct own test for 2020-21, apply now". Hindustan Times. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  34. ^ "Top Court Cancels Bengaluru National Law School's Separate Entrance Exam". Retrieved 27 September 2020.