Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal to be decentralized

[TamilNet, Sunday, 12 September 2004, 19:47 GMT]
Sri Lanka's constitution is to be amended to open regional level circuit session of the Court of Appeal to hear appeals from outstations. Sri Lanka Cabinet has given its approval to the proposed amendment to the constitution submitted by the Justice Minister, said Sri Lanka's Chief Justice Mr.Sarath N.Silva Sunday in Trincomalee.

"I sincerely hope the necessary amendments to the Constitution would be approved by parliament on a bi-partisan basis without any division," said Mr.Sarath N.Silva.

The newly opened Trincomalee court complex has been designed so that there is sufficient space for the Court of Appeal's circuit session to function in these precincts, added the Chief Justice.

"As the law stands now, all the appeals in civil cases in Sri Lanka are heard only in the Court of Appeal located in Colombo. One could justifiably complain of the plight of a litigant who has to travel from Trincomalee to Colombo to pursue a civil appeal that he has filed.

"The plight of a litigant who has succeeded in obtaining judgment in a case heard in Trincomalee and who thereafter hs to travel to Colombo to ensure that the fruits of his victory are not denied to him, is much worse. Since appeals in civil cases have to be instituted, heard and concluded in Colombo, we have a severe backlog of cases in the Court of Appeal. We are now hearing appeals that have been filed as far back as 1995, reflecting a nine-year delay," said the Chief Justice.

"As a solution to this serious crisis facing the administration of justice, we have strived for many years to have the Constitution amended so that appeals in civil cases could be heard in circuit in different regions," said Mr.Silva.


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