Dec 02

Now that the Country’s attention could be diverted a little, without too much competition from extended celebrations of various kinds and Budget debates, it is time to get Parliament, the Judiciary and the legal fraternity to address their minds to the painful tortures to which litigants are subjected on account of the apparent indifference, reluctance or myopia of these three bodies to take practical steps to give a measure of relief to the suffering public. The Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) sets out below four suggestions (of the many that were considered) which could be implemented without much delay if the interests of the People are given due weight by Parliament, the Judiciary and the legal fraternity.

The first profoundly important step that requires to be taken is to learn from countries which practice more efficient ways of speeding up litigation. Indeed, the late Mr. Felix Dias Bandaranaike got the required laws passed and implemented in or about 1973 to update our litigation procedures. In a shocking turn of events, the more inefficient and unprincipled of our lawyers who, regrettably, greatly outnumber their betters, managed to get his progressive legislation repealed after Mr J.R.Jayawardene came into power. The basis for our serious accusation is explained below.

The usual practice is that most of our lawyers keep “nibbling away” at cases because prolongation of the legal process enables them to get away with shoddy, piecemeal homework, with the collateral benefit that the consequent delays would only tend to increase their income. Moreover, too many of our lawyers think that it is very smart to knock out witnesses for the other side by aggressive cross-examination during which they produce “surprises” of various kinds, which put the opposing witnesses and counsel into difficulties arising from the unexpectedness of the “facts” presented. This kind of tactic is not permitted in more organised and productive legal environments.

The convention in superior legal systems is that a complainant sets out his claim in detail with the entirety of the documentation available to him, together with a comprehensive list of witnesses. The respondent is given a fixed period of time at the end of which he must answer the claims made against him and also make whatever counterclaims there may be, together with a list of his own witnesses. The complainant is then allowed to refute any of the averments made by the respondent. No “surprises” may be sprung later on by either party on the other. Once this is done, the lawyers for both sides meet and list out the facts that both parties agree on, and frame issues jointly regarding the remaining contentious matters to be placed before the appropriate court. Generally it happens that, during the course of these preparatory discussions, the parties agree, for good reasons, to dispense with the calling of certain witnesses listed in the various documents. Similarly, agreement can be reached on the admissibility or otherwise of the documents listed in the Claim, the Answer/Counter-Claim and the Response. In the majority of cases, this whole exercise could be completed within a few hours, leaving only the disputed matters to be dealt with by Court. By adopting this procedure, the scope for curtailing the time to be spent in Court is enormous, not to mention the cost savings to the clients. Far from reducing the amount of work that lawyers would get, it is possible that a vast number of persons who would not consider going to court, on account of the present inefficiency, delays and costs, would be encouraged to resort to this kind of streamlined litigation, if it were available.

Another good practice relates to “dates” and postponements. For all practical purposes, the courts in “advanced” countries will not allow postponements – for example, “because my learned friend has a personal problem”. There is no room for saying “I should like to stop at that point for today”. The counsel for both sides are expected to make full use of the time allocated by the Court to help get the case concluded with all possible expedition.

We wonder whether, in the interests of the tens of thousands of long suffering litigants in this land, President Rajapakse would be willing, able and strong enough to resist the pressures exerted by the less conscientious members of the legal fraternity and get Minister of Justice Rauf Hakeem to reactivate the Felix Dias Bandaranaike legislation, with any updating required, as early as possible.

Turning our attention to the next point, we may mention that, as far back as 2005, if not before, surveys carried out by independent research groups had revealed that there had been a progressive erosion of public trust in many state institutions. This loss of confidence extended to the Judiciary as well. CIMOGG appealed through the press then, 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, which had been formulated by the Chief Justices of 31 countries from around the world. About the same time, on account of certain incidents and facts considered independently by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), its Council had decided to appoint a high-powered committee to draft a Code of Conduct for Judges. As nothing much appeared to be happening in this direction, CIMOGG proposed, in its letter of 2 November 2005 to the BASL, that the latter should recommend adoption of the said BANGALORE PRINCIPLES 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 in not having to “reinvent the wheel”, this approach would have kept us closely in line with international standards in this area of good governance. For reasons that we can only guess at, the BASL’s interest in the conduct of the Judiciary waned rather rapidly and nothing has been heard thereafter about its initiative.

It is CIMOGG’s assessment that, as there are numerous lawyers in Parliament, there should be little difficulty in getting such a People-friendly piece of legislation passed, particularly considering the wording of Article 4(c) of the Constitution, which commences with words “the judicial power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament through courts, tribunals …”. If the necessary legislation is passed, strict adherence to the BANGALORE PRINCIPLES by the Judiciary would surely help to reverse “the progressive erosion of public trust” referred to above and lessen the tribulations that myriad litigants undergo every day.

Another matter of great consequence relates to the fact that, in most cases a lower Court goes into a dispute and gives its decision, with its reasons. If either one of the parties considers it advisable to do so, it will refer the matter to the Court of Appeal, which will give its own determination with reasons there for. Where the verdict of the Court of Appeal is deemed unfair by a party, that party could go to Supreme Court for a final word. However, there are certain types of cases, particularly those relating to Fundamental Rights, where the first reference is directly to the Supreme Court. In these instances, a sense of injustice is bound to be felt by the Petitioner whenever the Court mysteriously pronounces that “Leave to proceed is refused” without giving any indication as to the nature of the deficiency in the Petition. This is grossly unfair to the Petitioner, the public and the Court itself. In the case of the Petitioner, he has no clue as to whether his application is refused on account of some technical default, or whether the Court is in possession of such other reliable information (unknown to the Petitioner and perhaps even the Attorney General) that it feels obliged to throw out the case. The crucial difference is that, in all the cases which come up from the lower Courts, the litigant has some idea of where his case fails and he has some body (the Court of Appeal and/or the Supreme Court) to appeal to. In contrast, when the Supreme Court makes an order, without giving at least one sound reason for rejection, knowing that there is no further appeal possible, it leaves a very uncomfortable feeling in one’s stomach. Although the Supreme Court may feel that it has done justice, it certainly cannot be seen to have been done. Therefore, we call upon His Lordship the Chief Justice to issue whatever guidelines are necessary to prevent this kind of opaque justice being inflicted on citizens who seek the intervention of the Supreme Court as the sanctuary of last resort available to them.

The fourth issue that we wish to raise is that, some years back, knowledgeable commentators had observed that judgments given in favour of the government for the time being were often followed by the judges concerned being appointed to well-paid positions when they retired. Appointments to the Bribery Commission and to ambassadorial level posts in the Foreign Service were perceived, in some cases at least, to have been rewards for decisions given in favour of the appointing authority’s interests. After a time, the government was persuaded that it was not a good practice to appoint judges to various remunerative or high-status positions after their retirement. It was decided that all judges would, upon retirement, receive a pension equal to their full salary at retirement, thereby obviating the need for them to seek post-retirement employment. What has happened subsequently is that a number of judicial officers have not only drawn their full salaries after retirement but also accepted other highly paid, tax-free employment within the State machinery. It would be far better, in CIMOGG’s view, that the salaries and pensions of judicial officers should be increased even further to a level that would diminish the temptation to colour their judgments with a view to enhancing their chances of getting further profitable employment in the State sector.

We call upon other associations, individuals, the media and concerned members of the public to add their voices to CIMOGG’s to get these improvements implemented. If Minister Rauf Hakeem has any concern for the multitudes who are forced into litigation, he could really help them by working towards the objectives outlined above.

Dr A.C.Visvalingam
President, CIMOGG


  1. Gena Says:

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Says:

    Nicce post. I used to be cnecking constantly this weblog
    and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the final section :) I take care
    of such info much. I used to be looking for this
    certain info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

  3. best 42 inch lawn tractor Says:

    Thank you for some other fantastic article.
    The place else may anyone get that type of info in such a
    perfect means of writing? I have a presentation next week,
    and I’m on the search for such information.

  4. green smoke e cig Says:

    This is the perfect website for anybody who hopes to understand this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not
    that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin
    on a topic which has been discussed for decades. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  5. garcinia cambogia side effects and benefits Says:

    I’m not positive where you are getting your information, however great topic.
    I needs to spend some time finding out more or working out more.
    Thank you for fantastic info I was in search of this info for
    my mission.

  6. Victoria Says:

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you spending
    some time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  7. Find Out More Says:

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff prior to and
    you’re simply too magnificent. I actually like what you have bought right here, really like what you’re saying and the
    way during which you assert it. You are making it entertaining
    and youu still care for to stay it wise. I cant wait to learn much more from you.
    This is really a great site.

  8. Ashton Says:

    I just like the helpful information you supply in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and test again right here regularly.
    I’m quite certain I’ll be informed many new stuff right right here!

    Good luck for the next!

  9. where to buy garcinia cambogia pure extract Says:

    I do consider all of the concepts you’ve offered in your post.
    They’re really convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too quick for starters. May you please prolong
    them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  10. cambogia fruit Says:

    We absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be exactly
    what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a
    number of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome website!

  11. gc xs diet pill Says:

    Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.

    I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look
    when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb site!

  12. garcinia pronutra Says:

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting
    a little research on this. And he actually ordered me dinner because
    I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword
    this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about
    this issue here on your website.

  13. nike free run Says:

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future
    and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could
    I wish to suggest you few interesting things or
    advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring
    to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  14. simply garcinia extract pill Says:

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and detailed
    information you offer. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that
    isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Wonderful read!
    I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  15. triminex garcinia Cambogia Free Trial Says:

    Just wish to say your article is as amazing.
    The clearness in your post is simply great and i can assume
    you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to
    grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  16. Marz Sprays C Spray Glass Says:

    Maʏ I sіmply just sаy ѡhat a relief to find someone who
    really knows what they’rediscussing on the net. You certainly know hoա to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    A lot more peοple have to check this out and սnderstand this ѕide of
    the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular
    given that you definitely have the gift.

  17. gc180xt garcinia cambogia reviews Says:

    Нi there, I fоund your bloǥ via Google at the same time as looking for a related matter, your web sitе came up, it
    seemѕ great. I’νe bookmaгked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, simply changed into alert to yoսr weblog ѵia
    Google, and locatеd that it’s really informative. I’m gonna be careful for brussels.
    I’ll aƿpгeciate when you procеed this in future.
    A lot of other folks աill be benefited out of your writing.

  18. whatsapp sniffer Says:

    You are so awesome! I don’t suppose I’ve read through something like that
    before. So great to find someone with genuine thoughts on this subject
    matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up.
    This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone
    with a little originality!

  19. dui attorneys santa cruz Says:

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve remember your stuff previous to and
    you are simply extremely excellent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which
    by which you assert it. You’re making it
    entertaining and you still care for to stay it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you.
    That is actually a tremendous site.

  20. sacramento county dui attorney Says:

    Howdy very cool site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb ..
    I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also? I am
    glad to find so many helpful info right here in the post, we want work out
    more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.

    . . . . .

  21. bot Says:

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I think that you need to write more about this topic, it may not be a
    taboo matter but generally people do not speak about these topics.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

  22. Bruststraffung Says:

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and
    you’re just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you
    are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it
    enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read much more from you.
    This is actually a great site.

  23. useful reference Says:

    Hello I am so happy I found your blog page, I really found you by
    mistake, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank
    you for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling
    blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have bookmarked
    it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will
    be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  24. beton architektoniczny gda�sk Says:

    It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m glad
    that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  25. bathmate 2015 Says:

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my
    Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and
    will share this website with my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

  26. Gerald Says:

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!

    Very useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such information a lot.
    I was seeking this particular inforrmation for a very long time.Thank you and good luck.

  27. cimoggsrilanka Says:

    There is a donate button at the top of the page.

  28. tips cantik Says:

    You’re so cool! I do not think I’ve read something like this before.
    So good to find somebody with original thoughts on this subject matter.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing
    that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  29. learn this here now Says:

    I do consider all of the ideas you’ve introduced to your post.
    They’re really convincing and can definitely work.
    Still, the posts are too quick for novices.
    May you please prolong them a bit from subsequent
    time? Thanks for the post.

  30. Says:

    Hello, I log on to your blogs regularly. Your humoristic style is awesome, keep doing what you’re

  31. Says:

    You’re so great! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before.
    So wonderful to find any individual with some
    original thoughts on this subject. truly thank you for starting this up.

    this website is one thing that’s wanted online,
    somebody with some originality. useful job for bringing new things to the internet!

  32. Stuart Says:

    Hi! I have to admit, I’m impressed with your website. I
    had no trouble navigating through all the information. I found what
    I needed in no time at all. Pretty great. Would appreciate it if
    you add forums or something, it would be a perfect means for your clients and some other visitors
    to interact. Well done.

  33. refrigerator cost Says:

    Admiring the time and effort you put into
    your website and detailed information you offer. It’s good to come across
    a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same
    out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to
    my Google account.

  34. Plenty of Fish Dating Site of Free Dating Says:

    Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness to your put
    up is just spectacular and i could assume you’re knowledgeable in this subject.
    Well along with your permission let me to seize your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks 1,000,000 and please continue the enjoyable work.

  35. tesettür elbise Says:

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I
    am impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the last
    part :) I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  36. filo kiralama Says:

    Thank you for another magnificent article.
    Where else may just anybody get that type of
    info in such an ideal approach of writing?

    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the search for such information.

  37. TanjaGCampus Says:

    Howdy! Someone during my Facebook group shared this site with us thus i arrived
    at provide a glance. I’m definitely enjoying the
    information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Exceptional blog and wonderful style and design.

  38. PabloBNaveja Says:

    Magnificent goods of your stuff, man. We have consider your stuff previous to
    and you’re just extremely excellent. I actually like what
    you’ve obtained here, really like what you’re saying and the best
    way where you are saying it. You are making it enjoyable and you still look after to stay it sensible.
    I can’t wait to learn far more of your stuff. This is really a great website.

Leave a Reply