The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has unanimously taken a decision to express its grave concern regarding the speech made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament, referring to President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris, who appeared for the Election Commission in the Supreme Court in a case connected with the
conduct of the local government elections.
The BASL statement said its decision to express grave concern regarding the president’s statements, which pose a serious threat to the rule of law, was unanimously adopted on a motion moved by the Deputy President, Anura Meddegoda PC.
The fact that a senior member of the legal profession in Sri Lanka has been subject to personal attacks for representing clients, more so for being called a “political lawyer” by the Head of State under the cover of immunity and privilege, is a matter for serious concern, the BASL statement said.
It is a basic right of any individual or corporate body to retain an attorney-at-law of their choice to represent their interests in legal proceedings, and the members of the bar have a duty to assist their clients before courts and other tribunals. This is a right of any person before the law, a professional duty of Attorneys-at-Law and a vital function to preserving the Rule of Law and the proper functioning of the legal system.
The BASL is urging the President and Members of Parliament to “exercise self-restraint” and to desist from making statements that will erode the confidence of the public in the legal system and undermine the independence of the judiciary, both of which would ultimately lead to a serious erosion of the Rule of Law.
This statement was issued under the signatures of BASL Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC and BASL Secretary Isuru Balapatabendi.


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