ECONOMYNEXT – It is the national duty of all stakeholders in Sri Lanka’s legal system to reform the system by updating it effectively and promptly at an affordable cost, Minister of Justice Ali Sabry said.
Speaking today at an event held in Aluthkade for the laying of the foundation stone for the newly proposed House of Justice, Sabry said the ministry has already identified that in order to bring Sri Lanka’s legal system to at least among the top 50 countries in the world, a lot of transformations are needed across the legal sector with long term plans.
He said that according to World Bank indicators, Sri Lanka ranks 165 among 189 countries when considering the time period taken to enforce a contract, while the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index ranked Sri Lanka 111th country out of 189 countries in 2018.
Sabry further said that Justice Ministry research has revealed that it takes nine years for a criminal case to be solved in Sri Lanka’s courts and that according to 2019 statistics there are about 5,000 cases still unsolved in district courts for over 20 years.
“This is not something we can be satisfied with, at all,” he added.
Discussions he held with visiting leading foreign investors gave him a practical understanding of the importance of ranking high in such indices, the minister said.
The new House of Justice was initially approved by the cabinet in 2017. The project has four phases. Phase one, which will cost Rs 2,558 million contains the new magistrate court complex which will house 12 magistrate courts with restrooms, offices and archives.
Phase two, which will cost Rs 3,906 million, contains the new Justice Ministry complex which will house the Judicial Services Commission, a centre for the training of judges and the Legal Aid Commission.
Phase three, which will cost Rs 6,543 million, contains the new high court and district court complex which will house 10 high courts, six commercial high courts, three civil appeal courts, 10 district courts and six labour tribunals.
Phase four, which will cost Rs 1,992 million, contains the official residences complex for judges and ministry officials. (Colombo/Jan25/2021)