CIMOGG appealed through the press in September 2005 calling upon Parliament to enact legislation containing a Code of Conduct for all judicial officers and recommended that the said Code should be based on THE BANGALORE PRINCIPLES OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT. As a result of certain incidents and facts considered independently by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), its Council has recently decided to appoint a high-powered and highly-respected committee to draft a Code of Conduct for Judges. This is a highly gratifying development.
In the interests of getting the Code of Conduct as rapidly as possible into the law of the country, CIMOGG has suggested, in its letter of 2 November 2005 addressed to the BASL, that the BASL should call upon its three-member committee to recommend adoption of THE BANGALORE PRINCIPLES OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT in toto as the basis of the proposed Code of Conduct, making only those additions or modifications which may be unavoidable to meet the Sri Lankan situation. Quite apart from the saving of time, adopting this approach would keep us closely in line with international standards in this area of good governance.
CIMOGG has also taken the opportunity to seek BASLs support to upgrade the quality and independence of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) as it is our view that, to continue to keep the JSC under the sole, absolute control of whoever is the current Chief Justice is not the best possible arrangement. Therefore, we have asked the BASL to take the initiative to press Parliament to create new legislation to make the JSC, say, a seven-member body of which only three would be judicial officers (active or retired) and the four others would be distinguished legal academics and/or public figures of high integrity. The judicial officers could be recommended by the most recently retired, living Chief Justice and the others by the Constitutional Council, all being appointed by the President within a fixed time period of the date of the recommendations.
We call upon other associations, individuals, the media and concerned members of the public to add their voices to CIMOGGs in getting these two pieces of legislation passed as early as possible.