The first and only law school in the Kingdom of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law was founded in 2015, by the promulgation of a Royal Charter by His Majesty the King. His Majesty envisioned that the law school would “provide legal education, facilitate research in law and related fields, [and] promote cultural enrichment and traditional values.
The law school is named after the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. His Majesty was not only the author of Bhutan’s unique development strategy, “Gross National Happiness,” but he was also the motivating force and father of Bhutan’s first Constitution. It is fitting that Bhutan’s law school commemorates his contributions and gifts to Bhutan.
With a curriculum that focuses in equal measure on practical skills and “learning by doing,” Dzongkha language and Bhutanese values and traditions, and core legal and social science subjects, JSW Law boasts course of studies that is at once in line with international best practices, but also uniquely Bhutanese.
The law school opened its doors to its historic first class of students on 3 July 2017, at a leased temporary campus in Taba, Thimphu. That first class – 13 young women and 12 young men – hail from across the country, reflecting a diverse cross-section of Bhutanese society.
The permanent teaching faculty are drawn from across Bhutan and around the world, and are supplemented by top visiting faculty from abroad. They are led by our Honourable President, Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, by a Governing Council headed by the Chief Justice of Bhutan, and by Dean Sangay Dorjee, an experienced educator and civil servant.
Admitted students will study at the law school for five years, leading to a qualifying degree in law. Upon graduation, they will take their place as leaders in the judiciary, in government service, in private practice, in civil society, and in the commercial sector. Above all, they will exemplify the motto of JSW Law: “JSW = Justice. Service. Wisdom.”