All India Bar Examination Flashback – The AIBE rules

The original AIBE rules published by the Bar Council in 2010, how the exam has evolved, what to expect for the next All India Bar Examination

In 2010, the Bar Council of India decided to institute the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) as the ‘Pre-qualification’ or ‘Post-qualification’ requirement for practicing as an advocate in India.

You can call it a ‘Pre-qualification’ exam since passing the AIBE is required for practicing law in the long term. Some have referred to the exam as a ‘Post-Qualification’ exercise since the exam takers will already have passed their LLB degrees and could have practised for up to two years before taking the exam.

AIBE XIII (13) Mock Tests - Sample Papers & Previous Papers Online Practice Pack :
  • Nine Previous AIBE Question Papers - AIBE IV to AIBE XII (2014 to 2018)
  • Fifty Full-Length AIBE XIII (13) Mock Tests - Sample Papers  from a Question Bank of over 9500 AIBE specific questions
  • Fifty Mini-Mock Tests - 25 Questions each, for quick practice sessions
  • Each Mock test - Sample Papers can be attempted unlimited number of times for consistent practice
  • This practice pack is complete online and can be accessed anytime - anywhere via Smart phones, Laptops, Desktops and Tablets
  • Note : No hard-copies are included.
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BCI’s objectives and the original thought behind the All India Bar Exam were elucidated by the then Chairman of BCI in a letter to all applicants and also a video.

Though there were objections, arguments and PILs against the AIBE, they have all been laid to rest and the All India Bar Exam is here to stay! Over the years, the exam has seen it’s share of controversy about the selection of the company to conduct the exam, the syllabus changes, timing, results etc.

The syllabus of the AIBE also has evolved over the years and there was a significant change in the pattern from 2014 onward. You can read about the evolution of the AIBE syllabus here.

You can read all the Frequently Asked Questions about the AIBE here.

While the AIBE is a step in the right direction, the exam mode, question paper quality and periodicity of the exam can definitely be improved.

The text below is the original All India Bar Examination (AIBE) rules that was published in 2010. LawMint’s commentary and notes are included in-line in red text.


The Bar Council of India resolution at its meeting held on 30 April to amend Part VI, Chapter III of the Bar Council of India Rules (Conditions for Right to Practise) was published in the Gazette of India on June 12, 2010.

The following resolution was adopted by the Bar Council of India on 10 April 2010 to conduct an All India Bar Examination, the passing of which will entitle an advocate to practice law in India. Consequent to the resolution, the following rules were inserted into Part VI, Chapter III of the Bar Council of India Rules.

Resolution number 73/2010 :

RESOLVED that as the Bar Council of India is vested with the power of laying down conditions subject to which an advocate shall have the right to practice, these Rules, therefore, lay down such condition of an All India Bar Examination, the passing of which would entitle the advocate to a Certificate of Practice which would permit him/her to practice under Chapter IV of the Advocates Act, 1961.

9. No advocate enrolled under section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 shall be entitled to practice under Chapter IV of the Advocates Act, 1961, unless such advocate successfully passes the All India Bar Examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. It is clarified that the Bar Examination shall be mandatory for all law students graduating from academic year 2009-2010 onwards and enrolled as advocates under Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

The All India Bar Examination

10. (1) The All India Bar Examination shall be conducted by the Bar Council of India.

(a) The Bar Examination shall be held at least twice each year in such month and such places that the Bar Council of India may determine from time to time.

Though the first few AIBE exams were held with a gap of just a few months, the Bar Exams from IV (2011) till IX (2016) have been an annual exercise.

Initially the exam editions were being referred to with a number (AIBE – I, II, III…) now they are being popularly referred with the conducted year in the name (AIBE IX 2016, X 2017, XI 2017, XII 2018…) But in 2017, the exam was again conducted twice; in March and in December, so it would be ideal to just refer to the AIBE with the edition of the exam – I, II, III etc.

We expect that he Bar Council will eventually go with the original resolution and conduct the exam multiple times in a year. The ideal state would be to have the exam as a completely online and ‘on demand’ exercise, where students can take the exam at any time of the year in official test centers. (Like the GMAT)

(b) The Bar Examination shall test advocates in such substantive and procedural law areas as the Bar Council of India may determine from time to time.

(c) Such substantive/procedural law areas and syllabi shall be published by the Bar Council of India at least three months prior to the scheduled date of examination.

So far, the exam has been based on the BCI approved LLB syllabus which is followed for all 3 year and 5 year LLB courses in India. The main criticism about the exam is that it is predominantly an exercise to test the theoretical knowledge of the test takers and not the practical aspects required to actually practice as an advocate.

As an open book exam, students have felt that the exam mostly tests the speed at which you can pull up the right section of the right act to find the answers; and not whether the student actually understands the law.

Hopefully, future iterations of the exam will test both the theoretical understanding and the practical application of law.

(d) The percentage of marks required to pass the Bar Examination shall be determined by the Bar Council of India.

At present, the pass marks for the exam is 40% – which has been criticised as being very lenient; especially since this is a multiple choice, open book exam with no negative marking.

Some students we spoke with mentioned that passing the Bar Exam was easier than passing their LLB degree; which seems to defeat the purpose of the AIBE.

In-line with the Bar Exams in US and UK, the Indian Bar exam should be more stringent; and possibly have a negative marking aspect. With hundred questions, even absolutely random marking of all questions could fetch the students around 25 marks. (or 25% or the randomly answers will be correct.)

You can read our analysis on how to pass the the Bar Exam with the lest effort.

Theoretically if a student can correctly answer around 25 questions and randomly answer the remaining 75, it is possible for the student to clear the exam with around 40 marks! Negative marking will definitely raise the Bar in the Bar Exam

(e) An unsuccessful advocate may appear again for the Bar Examination, without any limit on the number of appearances.

(f) The Bar Council of India, through a committee of experts, shall determine the syllabi, recommended readings, appointment of paper setters, moderators, evaluators, model answers, examination hall rules and other related matters.

While the syllabus for the All India Bar Examination is based on the BCI approved LLB syllabus, there are around 20 subjects that are covered. The choice of the subjects and the weightage have been tweaked almost year.

In the last couple of editions of the AIBE (IX & X), the syllabus has been published just a few days before the exam; making the students feel somewhat uncomfortable.  

(g) The Bar Council of India shall determine the manner and format of application for the examination.

(h) Upon successfully passing the Bar Examination, the advocate shall be entitled to a Certificate of Practice.

A point to note here is that BCI is not providing any official AIBE study material as was done for the first few editions of the exam.

Though the old study material is still available, it has become outdated and irrelevant due to changes in the subjects and weightage.

Application for Certificate of Practice

11. (1) The Certificate of Practice shall be issued by the Bar Council of India to the address of the successful advocate within 30 days of the date of declaration of results.

(2) The Certificate of Practice shall be issued by the Bar Council of India under the signature of the Chairman, Bar Council of India.


Keep watching LawMint.com as we run up towards the next edition of AIBE. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

AIBE XIII (13) Mock Tests - Sample Papers & Previous Papers Online Practice Pack :
  • Nine Previous AIBE Question Papers - AIBE IV to AIBE XII (2014 to 2018)
  • Fifty Full-Length AIBE XIII (13) Mock Tests - Sample Papers  from a Question Bank of over 9500 AIBE specific questions
  • Fifty Mini-Mock Tests - 25 Questions each, for quick practice sessions
  • Each Mock test - Sample Papers can be attempted unlimited number of times for consistent practice
  • This practice pack is complete online and can be accessed anytime - anywhere via Smart phones, Laptops, Desktops and Tablets
  • Note : No hard-copies are included.
Inclusive of all taxes

Pay through Credit-Debit cards, Net-Banking, UPI or Wallets
We use PayTM & Instamojo gateways for secure payments

All India Bar Examination Flashback – The AIBE rules
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