February 14, 2011

Career in criminal law; Professor Stanley Yeo's message to law students

This is a Guest Post by Professor (Dr) Stanley Yeo who was recently at National University of Juridical Sciences for a two-credit course on "Comparative Criminal Law". Professor Yeo teaches at the National University of Singapore and is a specialist on the Indian Penal Code. He is also appointed as the Chief Editor of Singapore Journal of Legal Studies.  

Everyone who has studied law will know that Criminal Law is a core foundational course taught in Law Departments. Why is this so? It is because the Criminal Law represents the morals, values and expectations of the society in which we live. That being the case, it is curious why so many law students and lawyers seem to dislike the study or practice of the Criminal Law. Perhaps, it is the way the subject is presently taught in Law Schools or how it is applied in practice in India which makes Criminal Law unattractive. Or it may be because Criminal Law practice is not as lucrative as commercial law.
However, we must not forget that the Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Administration are the touchstones of our society's morals and  values, and they involve the pursuit of justice and fairness (especially for the under-privileged and powerless) more than any other area of the law. India rightly prides itself for its rich spiritual history and culture. In this regard, the nature of Criminal Law is also deeply spiritual. Consequently, I would appeal to law students and lawyers to re-ignite their interest in this area, and to strive toward improving the Criminal Law and its administration, for the betterment of themselves and India.