First entraints of a law school with a difference

School to provide courses in the law of torts, philosophy, composition and rhetoric, economics, and rigzhung

Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu


The nation’s first law school, Jigme Singye Wangchuck school of Law (JSW Law), opened doors to its first class of undergraduate students after a day-long ceremony at its temporary campus in Taba, in the capital on July 3, 2017.

A total of 25 students, consisting of 13 female class XII graduates from 19 different higher secondary schools in 12 Dzongkhags, will pursue their five-year law course towards a qualifying Bhutanese law degree.

Sonam Euden, associate dean for student services, said that the school designed a four week orientation and bridging course to prepare the students for the intensive study and practice of law.

“We know that our students are smart, talented, and dedicated,” she said adding that the purpose of the orientation and bridging course is to give them the additional tools they need to succeed in a law school.

She said that the orientation course will also include introductions to Bhutanese constitutional structures and history, the nature of law and legal practice, study skills and life skills.

She further mentioned that at the end of the four week orientation program, the students will immediately begin their studies in earnest, with courses in the law of torts, philosophy, composition and rhetoric, economics and rigzhung.

The JSW Law will operate in the leased residential facilities near its long-time administrative offices in Taba before the permanent campus in Pangbisa, Paro completes construction.

The law school is led by honourable president, Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck and named in honour of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The governing council is chaired by the present chief justice of Bhutan, Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk.

Sangay Dorjee, a founding dean of JSW Law, said that the students will be taught by a faculty composed of Bhutanese instructors, both visiting and permanent lecturers from abroad.

“Our curriculum and faculty recruiting strategy are designed to create a learning environment that draws the very best experiences from around the world, while instilling in our students the finest of Bhutanese values and traditions,” Sangay Dorji said.

He further added that in this way, they intend to create the world’s first truly Bhutanese law school and also to ensure equal access to all qualified students.

Students at JSW Law will not pay tuition or fees since a generous support has been received from the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB), as well as the Government of India, the Austrian Development Agency, the New York-based law firm White & Case LLP and the Karuna Foundation.

JSW Law was created by a royal command of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo and it is the first and only law school in the kingdom of Bhutan.

The law school community held its formal opening ceremony, after the conclusion of the orientation and bridging course, on July 29 this year.

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