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Junior National Law Conference 2018

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The Junior National Law Conference, which is the most sought-after annual event of the calendar of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, was held for the 18th consecutive year from 14 to 16 September at the hotel ‘Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon’, Hikkaduwa under the theme of ‘futurum edificamus – we build the future’. 

The entire legal fraternity comprises of approximately 20,000 lawyers, out of which approximately 8,000 lawyers are junior lawyers. The Conference consisted of a delegation of 280 delegates representing the entire country. The inauguration ceremony of the Conference was held on 14 September evening with the participation of Attorney General of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Jayantha Jayasuirya as the Chief Guest and with the participation of many distinguished legal professionals. The keynote speaker for the evening was Dr. Harsha Cabral, President’s Counsel. 

At the inauguration ceremony, the Chairman of the Junior Bar Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Kuvera de Zoysa, President’s Counsel addressing the gathering, emphasised the importance of establishing a permanent career guidance centre at the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to play a more active role and to continuously help the junior lawyers. Chief Guest Jayantha Jayasuirya in his address highlighted the role of junior lawyers in light of the Conference theme. The Convener of the Junior Bar Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Nishan Premathiratne, Attorney at Law, spoke in lines of the purpose of the Conference this year which was to reach out to the Junior Lawyers around the country and to bring their issues to limelight. In the keynote address Dr. Harsha Cabral, President’s Counsel addressed the importance of hard work, dedication and passion in the legal profession through a reflection on his own life story to motivate the junior lawyers to inspire the future of the legal fraternity. 

The Junior Bar Law Journal Volume IX was launched at the Conference inauguration ceremony and the first copy of the Journal was presented to Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya. The Journal consists of numerous articles catering to the modern-day lawyers’ knowledge, interests and requirements comprising of recent developments in law and recent case judgements. The Conference encompassed a series of academic sessions in the areas of Civil Law, Criminal Law and Commercial Law discussing important developing areas of law with the participation of eminent resource personnel as panellists, including Judge of the Commercial High Court Ruwan Fernando, Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda President’s Counsel, Dr. Harsha Cabral President’s Counsel, M.U.M. Ali Sabry President’s Counsel, Ikram Mohamed, President’s Counsel, Kalinga Indatissa President’s Counsel, Anil Silva President’s Counsel, Saliya Peiris President’s Counsel, Chandaka Jayasundera President’s Counsel, Avindra Rodrigo, Niranjan de Silva, Senaka de Saram, Jagath Wickramanayake and Saravanan Neelakandan. A session on the recent amendment to the Inland Revenue Law and its implications to the legal professionals was facilitated by the Senior Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department Darmadasa Rangalla and Riad Ameen.

Through the Conference, junior lawyers appraised the importance of self-confidence and branding themselves in the legal profession through an interactive session conducted by Senela Jayasuirya, CEO of Women Empowered Global and the attire for a gentleman through a session conducted by Fouzul Hameed, the Owner and Managing Director of Hameedia.

The Conference ended with the Junior Bar Forum which was held on the third day of the Conference in order to address the issues and problems faced by the junior lawyers around the country and the issues raised were addressed by an eminent panel of stakeholders consisting of Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda President’s Counsel, the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka U.R. De Silva President’s Counsel, the Secretary of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Kaushalya Nawaratne, Chairman of the Junior Bar Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Kuvera de Zoysa, President’s Counsel, Convener of the Junior Bar Committee and the Executive Committee Member of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Nishan Premathiratne, Harsha Fernando Senior Attorney at Law and Nuwan Bopege representing the junior lawyers. Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda President’s Counsel expressing his point of view on the concerns raised relating to the Attorney General’s Department application process stated that the process is rather transparent and highlighted the importance of improving the vernacular skills for lawyers.The legal fraternity in Sri Lanka comprises of approximately 8,000 junior lawyers who are in their first 10 years in practice. The entire legal profession branches out to judges, private practitioners, state counsels, corporate lawyers, notaries, instructing attorneys and counsels and participants representing all these spheres of the legal profession across the country, participated at this Conference. 

The Conference theme ‘futurum edificamus – we build the future’ was formulated by the Junior Bar Committee after careful contemplation in an era where the legal profession is alleged to be eroding and the public confidence on the legal profession has been lost with many allegations raised against the legal professionals, this theme was formulated by the Junior Bar Committee for this year and it is sought to instil with the junior lawyers, the importance of their role in upbringing the entire legal fraternity. 

The team behind the success of the Junior National Law Conference 2018 was the organising committee consisting of 24 junior lawyers led by Kuvera de Zoysa President’s Counsel, Nishan Premathiratne, Pravi Karunaratne, Ameer Mahuroof, Thushangi Atapattu, Sachintha Kahandage, Kaneel Maddumage, Heshika Rupasinghe, Sanjeewa Ruwanpathirana and Yajish Tennakoon Attorneys-at-Law.    


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