The Secretary to the President has issued a notification calling for applications for the appointment of President’s Counsels for the years 2022 and 2023. Applications have been invited to select qualified persons for the appointment of President’s Counsels for the years 2022 and 2023 in terms of Article 33(e) of the Constitution.

Sri Lankan citizens with the following qualifications can apply to be appointed as President’s Counsel as per the guidelines published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2255/24 of November 24, 2021.

1). A person who

  1. Is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka;
  2. has reached eminence in the legal profession and maintains a high standard of conduct and professional integrity;
  3. has: (a) Actively contributed by advocacy in any Court of Sri Lanka; (b) Actively contributed by advocacy for the advancement of the law; or (c) Made a significant and outstanding contribution as a specialist in law at senior level in the public sector or in an internationally recognised institution in Sri Lanka or abroad and brought honour to Sri Lanka;
  4. has a good character and reputation;
  5. has not violated the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka;
  6. has not engaged in any act of undermining or breaching the Rule of Law or the Independence of the Judiciary;
  7. has not been subject to any disciplinary order by the Supreme Court or the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, has not been convicted for professional misconduct or misdeed by a Court, has not been found guilty of contempt of Court, has not been convicted of any offence by a local or overseas Court except a minor offence under the Motor Traffic Act, and is not bankrupt;
  8. has been registered in the Department of Inland Revenue as a tax payer for a minimum period of five years prior to the submission of the application by him or her for the appointment as a President’s Counsel;

2). Publication of books or documents on law and/or the legal system, presentation of papers at national or international conferences, completion of further studies in law from nationally or internationally recognised institutions, teaching of the subject of law in recognised higher educational institutions, up-to-date knowledge in new aspects of law, and training of junior Attorneys-at-Law who contribute to the profession in a meaningful manner will be considered as additional qualifications for the appointment of President’s Counsels.

3). The applicant must have practised as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka for a minimum period of twenty (20) years.


In July 2019, Attorney-at-Law Upul Kumarapperuma filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an order directing the authorities to formulate criteria and procedures that should be followed during the appointment of the President’s Counsel. Subsequent to this Fundamental Rights petition, the Secretary to the President issued an extra gazette notification providing new guidelines for the appointment of the President’s Counsel.


The petitioner had informed the Supreme Court that the appointment process of the President’s Counsel should be carried out based on consistent and discernible criteria.

He alleged that since the year 2017 up to July 2019, former President Maithreepala Sirisena had appointed 75 President’s Counsel from the private bar on three occasions.