BASL says all Courts closed down today

The Courts throughout the country are closed from today until Thursday, the President of the Bar Association Kalinga Indatissa said.

Yesterday the Bar Association held a meeting with Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya to discuss the current situation with regard to the COVID19 outbreak.

As a result, the Chief Justice had issued a series of instructions which the Judicial Services Commission issued as a circular which was released to the media Monday evening.

However later in the evening, the government issued a notice that the holiday declared for Monday has been extended until Thursday.

As the administration of the Courts comes under the Ministry of Justice and all government offices are closed, the courts will follow suit.

The BASL President in a Facebook post this morning said: “No courts will function upto the 19th of March. Hence appearances by Lawyers and litigants will not be necessary.”

If no further declaration is made on the 19th extending the Public Holidays, the provisions of the JSC Circular will come into force. These include a severe curtailing of litigants being asked to appear in courts as well as some routine matters such as re-remanding accused, the granting of bail and several other matters to be done electronically using Skype.

The circular also orders that overcrowding in cells in the Courts should also be avoided.

Indatissa said that what the Association “had requested was for complete close down permitting health measures to take place. The ultimate decision was the decision in the JSC Circular.”

He added that the BASL “will be monitoring the situation very closely and will not hesitate to make any fresh request based on the need at such time when the request has to be addressed.”

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-Arjuna Ranawana

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