Leading criminal lawyer to run for BASL presidency

Thirantha Walaliyadde, President’s Counsel announced this week his candidacy for the Presidency of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL).

In a statement issued on his candidacy, Mr. Walaliyadde said there have been comments that the Bar Association was rather lackadaisical in its interests in the outside world.

“But this seems to be the clarion call for the Association to take notice and get into alert mode, for the sake of the future of the Bar Association as well as the community. Whatever criticisms as may be levelled against the Bar Association, it is a stubborn fact that the first and last refuge of the Rule of Law, and the independence of the Judiciary resides within the Bar Association,” the statement said. Mr. Walaliyadde, a leading criminal law practitioner warned against what he called “any attempt at an injection of virulent power politics into the Association”. “The Bar Association itself comprises a full contingent of politicians of all colours and free thinkers- and that is the way it should be.

But as an entity, it is non political. It maybe that a lethargic attitude on the part of the Bar Association regarding public interest matters during the past has led interested parties to conclude that the Association is ripe for the taking,” the statement further said.

He said that the basis of his candidature is that he owes no allegiance to any political party and that he would insulate the BASL from political or other interference. He would pursue the Rule of Law through the BASL. BASL elections are due early next year.

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