Legal profession not to be treated as a job bank, says Chief Justice

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Unethical practice among legal professionals was unacceptable and should be rooted out before it tarnished the profession, said Chief Justice Asoka N. de Silva. He was speaking at the 37th Annual Convocation of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL).

Mr. de Silva said he has received complaints from the public against certain lawyers and judges, a trend that indicated an alarming drop in standards. The Chief Justice said the Bar Association was a vital organ in a democratic nation, and that the legal profession was not just another “job bank.”

“All attorneys swear to defend and uphold the constitution; they become a part of the constitution. Therefore the Bar becomes essential in the equation of good governance,” Mr. de Silva said.
The Chief Justice also said action would be taken against certain electronic media that had made derogatory remarks about the judiciary.

In a separate address, Appeal Court president S. Sriskandarajah said the decision to absorb young lawyers as research associates in courts was a positive step, as it gave juniors the opportunity to train under seniors, while they helped to accelerate legal procedures.

Five Presidents Counsel were made life members (honoris causa) at the convocation. They are Ranjith Abeysuriya; N. R. M. Daluwatte; Romesh de Silva; Ananda Wijesekare, and T. G. Gooneratne. Shibly Aziz PC was re-elected President of the Bar Association for 2011-’12.The convocation was held yesterday at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo 7.

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