Senior legal practitioners from the Bar Associations of Jaffna, Kayts, Point Pedro, Chavahachheri and Mallakam met in Colombo marking the first such meeting in over two decades for the legal practitioners from the northern province. Some 28 lawyers attended the legal education workshop held at the Hotel Renuka recently and the focus was on promoting public interest litigation. The workshop was co-organised by the Jaffna Bar Association under the active leadership of Ms. Shantha Abhimanasingham and the Asia Foundation, and was supported by British High Commission’s Global Conflict Prevention Pool.
Chief Justice Hon. Sarath N. Silva, addressing the participants highlighted the workshop as a momentous event. He spoke on the important contribution made by the senior practitioners to the courts in the northern province and highlighted legal issues of special importance to Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka. He commented on the need to encourage more young Tamil speaking people to become professionally qualified in law and also spoke on the importance of promoting public interest litigation as a means of promoting and ensuring people’s rights.
Jaffna lawyers attend conference on public interest litigation in Colombo. Ms. Shantha Abhimanasingham in her address said that this was the first time that lawyers from the North had the opportunity to participate in a legal education workshop of this nature. She spoke on the hardships faced by the lawyers and how they valued the opportunity provided by the workshop to interact with senior practitioners of the calibre who participated. A distinguished panel of speakers addressed the lawyers including Justice H.S. Yapa, Mr. S.S. Wijayaratna, Mr. C.R. De Silva, Mr. K. Kanag-Isvaran P.C., Mr. Mohan Peries P.C., and Mr. R.K.W. Goonasekera. A wide range of topics were dealt with including “The Jurisdiction of the Provincial High Court”, “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, “Admissions and Confessions”, “Injunctions”, “Writs” and “Public Interest Litigation”.
The lawyers engaged in important discussions on laws and legal situation pertaining to language rights and ownership of houses within the high security zones. This is the first of a series of workshops and follow up workshops will be held in Jaffna and Colombo during the course of this year. [Source: British Highcommission News] [TamilWeek, Mar 26, 2006]