UPSC Law Syllabus

Law can be selected as one of the optional papers of UPSC Civil Service Main Exam. It is one of the popular choices of IAS Main exam’s optional paper especially among the aspirants from law, finance, international trade, management backgrounds. Candidates who have selected law as their optional for the main exam should understand the UPSC Law syllabus 2023 thoroughly. This will let them prepare for the exam in a much better way. In this post, you will find the complete UPSC main exam syllabus for Law.

IAS Law optional syllabus 2023

In the exam of law subject, a candidate needs to attempt two papers i.e. Paper 1 and Paper 2. Both of these papers carry 250 marks each. The topics in the syllabus of paper-1 and paper-2 are different from one another as given below.

UPSC Law Syllabus of Paper – 1

Constitutional and administrative Law:

  • Relationship between Fundamental rights, Directive principles and Fundamental duties.
  • Fundamental Rights — Public interest litigation; Legal Aid; Legal services authority
  • Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution.
  • Governor and his powers
  • Constitutional Position of the President and relation with the Council of Ministers.
  • Supreme Court and the High Courts:
    • Appointments and transfer.
    • Powers, functions and jurisdiction.
  • Centre, States and local bodies
    • Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States
    • Local Bodies
    • Eminent domain-State property-common property-community property
    • Administrative relationship among Union, State and Local Bodies.
  • Legislative powers, privileges and immunities
    • Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commissions — Power and functions.
    • Recruitment and conditions of services, Constitutional safeguards; Administrative tribunals.
    • Election Commission—Power and functions.
  • Emergency provisions.
  • Amendment of the Constitution.
  • Principle of Natural Justice—Emerging trends and judicial approach.
  • Delegated legislation and its constitutionality.
  • Separation of powers and constitutional governance.
  • Judicial review of administrative action.
  • Ombudsman: Lokayukta, Lokpal etc.

International Law

  • Peaceful settlement of disputes—different modes.
  • Lawful recourse to force: aggressions, self-defence, intervention.
  • Fundamental principles of international humanitarian law—International conventions and contemporary developments.
  • Legality of the use of nuclear weapons; ban on testing of nuclear weapons; Nuclear nonproliferation treaty, CTST.
  • International Terrorism, State sponsored terrorism, Hijacking, International Criminal


  • New International Economic Order and Monetary Law: WTO, TRIPS, GATT, IMF, World Bank.
  • Protection and Improvement of the Human Environment: International Efforts.
  • Nature and Definition of International Law.
  • Relationship between International Law and Municipal Law.
  • State Recognition and State Succession.
  • Law of the sea: Inland Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and High Seas.
  • Individuals: Nationality, statelessness; Human Rights and procedures available for their enforcement.
  • Territorial jurisdiction of States, Extradition and Asylum.
  • Treaties: Formation, application, termination and reservation.
  • United Nations: Its principal organs, powers and functions and reform.

Civil Service Law Syllabus (Paper – II)

Law of Crimes

  • Criminal conspiracy.
  • Offences against the State.
  • Offences against public tranquility.
  • Offences against human body.
  • Offences against property.
  • Offences against women.
  • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and subsequent legislative developments.
  • Plea bargaining.
  • General principles of Criminal liability : mens rea and actus reus, mens rea in statutory


  • Kinds of punishment and emerging trends as to abolition of capital punishment.
  • Preparations and criminal attempt.
  • General exceptions.
  • Joint and constructive liability.
  • Abetment

Law of Torts

  • False imprisonment.
  • Malicious prosecution.
  • Nature and definition.
  • Liability based upon fault and strict liability; Absolute liability.
  • Vicarious liability including State Liability.
  • General defences.
  • Joint tort fessors.
  • Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law

  • Contract of indemnity, guarantee and insurance.
  • Contract of agency.
  • Sale of goods and hire purchase.
  • Formation and dissolution of partnership.
  • Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
  • Standard form contracts

Contemporary Legal Developments

  • Public Interest Litigation.
  • Intellectual property rights—Concept, types/prospects.
  • Information Technology Law including Cyber Laws—Concept, purpose/prospects.
  • Competition Law—Concept, purpose/prospects.
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution—Concept, types/prospects.
  • Major statutes concerning environmental law.
  • Right to Information Act.
  • Trial by media.

UPSC Law Syllabus Download PDF

UPSC Syllabus

Leave a Comment