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"LLB" redirects here. For the airport with the IATA code LLB, see Libo Airport. For the school in Mauritius, see Lycée La Bourdonnais.

The Bachelor of Laws (Latin: Legum Baccalaureus) B.L or LL.B. is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law (or a first professional degree in law, depending on jurisdiction) originating in England and offered in most common law Jurisdictions. In English-speaking Canada it is sometimes referred to as a post-graduate degree because previous university education is usually required for admission. The "LL." of the abbreviation for the degree is from the genitive plural legum (of lex, law). Creating an abbreviation for a plural, especially from Latin, is often done by doubling the first letter (e.g., "pp" for "pages"), thus "LL.B." stands for Legum Baccalaureus in Latin. It is sometimes erroneously called "Bachelor of Legal Letters" to account for the double "L".

The United States no longer offers the LL.B. though some universities introduced a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies that includes Constitutional Law, Tort Law, and Criminal Law within the curriculum. The Master of Science of Laws or J.S.M. in international taxation law is also offered in some universities accredited by the American Bar Association. While the LL.B. was conferred until 1971 at Yale University, since that time, all universities in the United States have awarded the professional doctorate J.D., which then became the generally standardized degree in most states for the necessary bar exam prior to practice of law. Many law schools converted their basic law degree programs from LL.B. to J.D. in the 1960s, and permitted prior LL.B. graduates to retroactively receive the new doctorate degrees by returning their LL.B. in exchange for a J.D. degree. Yale graduates who received LL.B. degrees prior to 1971 were similarly permitted to change their degree to a J.D., although many did not take the option, retaining their LL.B. degrees.

Historically, in Canada, Bachelor of Laws was the name of the first degree in common law, but is also the name of the first degree in Quebec civil law awarded by a number of Quebec universities. Canadian common-law LL.B. programs were, in practice, second-entry professional degrees, meaning that the vast majority of those admitted to an LL.B. programme were already holders of one or more degrees, or, at a minimum (with very few exceptions), have completed two years of study in a first-entry, undergraduate degree in another discipline. Today in Canada the predominant first degree in common law is the Juris Doctor degree having replaced the LL.B.

Bachelor of Laws is also the name of the first degree in Scots law and South African law (both being pluralistic legal systems that are based partly on common law and partly on civil law) awarded by a number of universities in Scotland and South Africa, respectively.


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