Ultimate Guide For CLAT (UG)

The Ultimate Guide For CLAT (UG): Eligibility, Important Dates, Syllabus, Vacancies, Universities & FAQs

The Common Law Admission Test or CLAT is a national level entrance exam for law aspirants. CLAT offers admission to both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) law courses offered by twenty-two National Law Universities in India as well as other public sector institutes.

With each passing year, the number of test-takers for CLAT is increasing at a fast pace. Today it’s hard to imagine a scenario without the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for law aspirants. Back in 2007, such a scenario existed. Yes, we are talking about a world where CLAT didn’t exist, or rather it wasn’t born yet. A world where there was no Common Law Admission Test, where each Law University conducted its separate entrance exam. One can only imagine the amount of stress that a candidate had to go through while applying to different universities. At times the syllabus was even different for the entrance exam of each law university. Not only this, the dates of these entrance exams used to coincide with other important exams like JEE (Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination) and AIPMT (All India Pre Medical Test). As a result, the candidates had to miss out on some exams. The additional stress and different preparations they had to go through for the entrance exam of each law university made the situation very difficult for law aspirants.

Finally, this situation came to light when Varun Bhagat, a law aspirant, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court of India against the Union of India and various National Law Universities in 2006. Soon the PIL had garnered huge support, especially by the Bar Council of India. This was followed by the Chief Justice of India instructing the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Government of India (Ministry of Human Resources Development) to form a nationwide common law test while conferring with National Law Universities. On 23rd November 2007, the Vice-Chancellors of seven NLUs (National Law Universities) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct a Common Law Admission Test, also known as CLAT, each year. This is how CLAT came into existence in 2007.

CLAT was conducted for the first time in 2008 by the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. Till 2018, CLAT was conducted on a rotational basis by the National Law Universities(NLUs) according to their seniority in terms of their establishment. It was decided that CLAT would be conducted by the Consortium of National Law Universities from 2019. The Consortium of National Law Universities has 22 NLUs as its members. It has three permanent members – National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru, National Law Institute (NLIU), Bhopal, and National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad. NLSIU, Bengaluru is the headquarters of the Consortium of National Law Universities. The Consortium was formed to enhance the standard of legal education in India and ensure proper coordination among the National Law Universities.

Eligibility for CLAT –

The eligibility criteria for CLAT is as follows:

  • Nationality – The Indian nationals and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are allowed to take CLAT. If any foreign national wishes to take admission in the law course offered by a participating Law University, he/she may contact the University concerned regarding the seats for foreign nationals.
  • Age Limit – There is no upper or lower age limit to appear for CLAT.
  • Academic Qualification – Candidates who have passed their (10+2) 12th Board Examination/ Senior Secondary School Examination or any equivalent examination are allowed to apply for CLAT. Minimum qualifying marks to be obtained by the candidate in 12th Board Examination is as follows:
Unreserved/General       45%
Other Backward Class (OBC)       45%
Specially Abled Persons (SAP)       45%
Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST)       40%

Important Dates for CLAT 2020 – 

  21 November 2019 Official Press Release of CLAT 2020 examination date
  14 December 2019 Changes in the exam pattern of CLAT 2020 are declared
  1 January 2020 Online registrations for CLAT 2020 begins
  18 May 2020 Last date of application submission
   21 June 2020 CLAT 2020 Examination

Application Details for CLAT 2020 –

Firstly, the candidates need to register themselves at the CLAT 2020 website (https://consortiumofnlus.ac.in/clat-2020/) through their mobile number and email ID. After registration, an OTP will be sent for validation to the given mobile number. Once the mobile number has been confirmed, the candidate can log in with their registered mobile number and password, which was provided at the time of registration.

This is followed by filling the details in the form. All details are to be filled carefully since no changes can be made in the online application form after the final submission. Moreover, the name of the candidate as well as the parent’s name should be spelled correctly, as it occurs in the documents submitted. Change or alteration in the spellings may lead to the rejection of the application. The candidates are required to fill their preference for all twenty-two National Law Universities in order, at that time itself. 

The documents that need to be uploaded include a front-facing recently photographed with plain background passport size picture as well as the signature of the candidate. If applying under SC/ST/OBC category then Category Certificate is also to be uploaded. 

Then comes the payment of application fees. The mode of payment for application fees is online only. The application fee for General or Other Backward Class (OBC) candidates is Rs 4000. For an SC/ST category candidate the application fee is Rs 3500. It is to be noted that the application fee is refundable.

Syllabus for CLAT 2020 –

CLAT UG is held offline. The time duration of CLAT is two hours. It consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. Each question carries one mark. A negative marking of 0.25 marks on each wrong answer is imposed.These 150 questions are divided into five subjects – 

  • English Language
  • Current Affairs, including General Knowledge
  • Legal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative techniques

→ English language :

In this section of CLAT, passages of about 450 words each would be provided. These passages could be taken from contemporary or historically significant fiction and even non-fiction writing. The passage could be easily read by a 12th standard student in five to seven minutes. The passage will be followed by a series of questions that will test the candidate’s comprehension and language skills. The questions would include the candidate’s understanding of the central theme or main idea of the passage. Inference, summarization, counter-arguments are some other skills that would be measured here along with the candidate’s understanding of different words or phrases used in the passage.

→Current Affairs, including General Knowledge :

This section of CLAT would include passages of 450 words each, taken from news, journalistic sources, and other nonfiction writing. Each passage would be followed by a series of questions testing the candidate’s awareness about current affairs and general knowledge. The questions would revolve around contemporary events of significance from India and the world as well as historical events of continuing significance. Arts and culture and international affairs related questions can also be asked.

→Legal Reasoning :

In the Legal Reasoning section of UG-CLAT, the candidate will read passages of 450 words each. These passages would include situations involving legal matters, moral-philosophical inquiries, or public policy questions. No prior knowledge of the law is required by the candidate. Though general awareness of contemporary legal and moral issues would help the candidate in the proper application of the general principles stated in the passages. The passages are accompanied by a series of questions. These questions would measure the candidate’s ability of identifying and inferring the rules and principles given in the passage. The proper application of these rules and principles to various situations by the candidate are also taken into account.

→Logical Reasoning :

This section of UG-CLAT provides short passages of about 300 words each. The questions following each passage would involve the identification of arguments, conclusions, and premises. Analyzing patterns of reasoning, drawing relationships and analogies, identifying contradictions and equivalence, and inference are some other skills of the candidate that would be measured here.

→Quantitative Techniques :

In this section of CLAT, the candidates will be given short sets of facts or propositions, graphs, or other textual, pictorial or diagrammatic representations of numerical information. This will be followed by a series of questions. The candidates will be required to do proper data interpretation from these passages, graphs, and representations. Application of various 10th standard mathematical operations like basic algebra, mensuration, and statistical estimation is also seen in these questions.

Vacancies/Number of Seats –

A total of three-seat allotment lists is published at clatconsotiumofnlu.ac.in for admissions via CLAT scores. To secure their seat the candidates will have to deposit a requisite Counselling fee of Rs 50,000. The same procedure is followed for the second and third lists. The Counselling fee is non-refundable. Each participating National Law University reserves the right to change the break up of seats as well as the total number of seats according to their policy before the final admission. The number of seats that each participating NLU offers is as follows –

                        Name of NLU           Total Number Of Seats
                    NLSIU, Bengaluru                               80   
                  NALSAR, Hyderabad                             120
                        NLIU, Bhopal                             122
                    WBNUJS, Kolkata                               127
                      NLU, Jodhpur                               104
                      HNLU, Raipur                               160
                  GNLU, Gandhinagar                               180
                  RMLNLU, Lucknow                               178
                    RGNUL, Punjab                               180
                        CNLU, Patna                               120
                          NUALS, Kochi                               120
                        NLUO, Cuttack                               120
                        NUSRL, Ranchi                               120
                          NLUJA, Assam                                 60
                    DSNLU, Visakhapatnam                               120
                    TNNLU, Tiruchirappalli                               120
                        MNLU, Mumbai                               100
                        MNLUN, Nagpur                               120
                    MNLUA, Aurangabad                                 60
                      HPNLU, Shimla                               120
                      DNLU, Jabalpur                               120
                  DBRANLU, Haryana                               120


It is not to be noted that the vacancy lists are put up by the NLUs (National Law Universities) on their original website. The vacancy procedure is directly handled by each NLU. Hence, no vacancy lists are published on the official CLAT website. Moreover, the vacancies may not come up in each NLU every year.

National Law Universities Participating in CLAT –

There are twenty-two National Law Universities that accept CLAT scores for admission into their law courses. Moreover, these NLUs are also members of the Consortium of NLUs. They are as follows :

  • National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore
  • National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad 
  • National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal
  • WB National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS), Kolkata
  • National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur
  • Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU), Raipur
  • Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU), Lucknow
  • Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar
  • Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), Punjab
  • Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna
  • National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi
  • National Law University Odisha (NLUO), Cuttack
  • National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL), Ranchi
  • National Law University and Judicial Academy (NLUJA), Assam
  • Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU), Visakhapatnam
  • Tamil Nadu National Law University (TMNLU), Tiruchirappalli
  • Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Mumbai
  • Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Nagpur
  • Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Aurangabad
  • Himachal Pradesh National Law University (HPNLU), Shimla
  • Dharmashastra National Law University (DNLU), Jabalpur
  • DR. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University (DBRANLU), Haryana

It is to be noted that NLSIU was the first National Law University established in India in 1986. It was also one of the earliest universities in India to offer the five years integrated BA LLB (Honors) program. NLSIU is considered as the best law college in India. It has been ranked Number 1 in the NIRF 2018 and 2019.

Besides these National Law Universities, other institutes or colleges that accept CLAT scores for admission into their law courses like –

  • Alliance University, Bangalore
  • Amity University, Uttar Pradesh
  • Asian Law College, Noida
  • K.N. Modi University, Rajasthan
  • Faculty of Law, Marwadi University, Rajkot
  • Geeta Institute of Law, Panipat
  • Gitam School of Law, Visakhapatnam
  • Harlal School of Law, Greater Noida
  • ICFAI University, Tripura
  • IIMT University, Meerut
  • Indore Institute of Law, Indore
  • Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad
  • Institute of Legal Studies and Research, GLA University, Mathura
  • ISBR Law College, Bangalore
  • Jims Engineering Management Technical Campus (JEMTEC) School of Law, Greater Noida
  • Kalinga University, Faculty of Law, Naya Raipur
  • Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University
  • Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida
  • Maharishi University of Information Technology, Delhi NCR
  • Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phoole University, MJRP Academy of Law, Jaipur
  • Mewar Law Institute, Ghaziabad
  • NIMT Vidhi Evam Kanoon Sansthan (NIMT Institute of Method and Law), Greater Noida
  • Raffles University, Neemrana, Rajasthan
  • Renaissance Law College, Indore
  • Reva University, Bangalore
  • RNB Global University, Bikaner
  • Sandip University, Nashik
  • Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary (SGT) University, Gurugram
  • Siddhartha Law College, Dehradun
  • SRM University, Haryana
  • The NorthCap University, Gurgaon
  • Unitedworld School of Law, Karnavati University, Gandhinagar
  • Vivekananda Global University, Jaipur
  • Xavier University, Bhubaneswar

Even though CLAT was formulated to have a nationwide common law admission test, there are still some law institutes that prefer to have their separate entrance exam and procedure. One prominent name that crops up in this category is Symbiosis Law School. Every year Symbiosis conducts its separate entrance exam known as Symbiosis Law Admission Test or SLAT.

FAQs about CLAT (UG) –

Q1) Is the mode of conduction for CLAT online?

Answer – CLAT is conducted offline in the designated test centers for CLAT. It is to be noted that the application process of CLAT is online including the payment of the application fees.

Q2) What subjects do I need to study for CLAT?

Answer – CLAT consists of five subjects or sections – English Language, Current Affairs including General Knowledge, Legal Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Techniques.

Q3) What is the age limit till which I can apply for CLAT?

Answer – There is no lower or upper age limit to take CLAT. The candidate just needs to have passed his/her 12th Board Examination. 

Q4) When will CLAT 2020 be conducted?

Answer – The applications for Clat 2020 close on 18 May 2020. The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT 2020) is to be conducted on 21 June 2020.

Q5) How many times can I apply for CLAT?

Answer – There are no restrictions placed upon the number of trials a candidate can apply for CLAT.

Written by
Aditi Shukla
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