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Cabinet Okays reforms to speed up justice system as backlog hits 766,000 cases

ECONOMYNEXT – The government wants to take action over the backlog of cases in Sri Lanka’s court system which is delaying justice.

The Cabinet on Monday gave the Greenlight to create a unit within the Ministry of Justice to reform the system to speed it up.

They will be tasked with implementing a Judicial Reform Program within 3 years.

The proposal to the Cabinet presented by Justice Minister Mohamed Ali Sabry said that delays in the judicial process in “have severely affected the people involved as well as the country’s economy.”

The proposal said that in 2016, the National Law Committee presented a report on the various issues that cause delays in cases, the adverse consequences that result from these issues, and the proposed solutions.

“By the end of 2019, there were 766,784 pending cases in the courts of the country and urgent action should be taken in this regard,” Sabry’s cabinet paper quoted the Law Committee as reporting according to the Department of Government Information.

“It has been identified that necessary steps need to be taken through infrastructure development, legal reform, judicial automation and capacity building to address the issues that cause delays in cases,” it added.

Soon after he took office Ali Sabry in August this year promised major reforms in the Courts system because he has seen “the suffering people go through in matters related to the judiciary” in his 25-year career as a lawyer.

He said that tackling delays in resolving cases was one of his priorities.

He pointed out that land cases, for instance, take at least 20-25 years to get settled in the courts.

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“In a case regarding the custody of a 10-year-old child, it will take 10-15 years to get it settled in courts. By that time the child has grown and changed, sometimes the future of the child would have been destroyed by it,” he said.

“We will never do anything against the constitution or people of this country, if something is to happen then it will only strengthen them,” he said

Further, the minister said that based on a complex survey which was conducted among the institutions in the country it was found that the Court’s Registrar office was among the most corrupt in the country. (Colombo September 30, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana