A committee appointed by Minister of Justice Ali Sabry to review judicial service development has proposed an increase to the number of courts and judges in the country.
The committee appointed to review demarcation of jurisdiction and to increase the number of court houses, including High Courts, presented its report to the Minister of Justice recently at the Ministry of Justice, in the Superior Courts Complex, Colombo 12.
The report of the committee, headed by Supreme Court Judge Justice Mahinda Samayawardhena, include proposals for increasing the number of courts to 125 with the establishment 74 new courts. Accordingly, 16 High Courts, 21 District Courts, 19 Magistrate Courts and 18 Combined Courts have been proposed to be established.
As per the committee’s proposal the highest number of courts would be in the North Western Province, with 27. The committee report further proposes the establishment of 24 new courts in the Western Province and 11 new courts in the North and North Central Provinces.
The committee also proposes to increase the number of Magistrates, District and High Court Judges by 112. The report also proposes the establishment of new court complexes in several areas including Mirigama, Beruwala, Rambodagalla and Chettikulam, and to expand the number of courts in other existing courts.
The Judicial Zones meanwhile had to be revised after the committee had sought the views and suggestions of branch associations of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and other interested parties throughout the country.
The committee noted that the last amendment to jurisdiction was in 2010 and subsequent changes were made based on the gazette notification issued in 2010.
The committee was chaired by of Supreme Court Judge Justice Mahinda Samayawardhena, and the other members who contributed to the endeavours of this committee were Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Acting Registrar of Companies Dimal Arandala, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Piyumanthi Peiris, Additional Solicitor General Indika De Silva PC, U.R. De Silva PC, Senior DIG Ajith Rohana, Advisor to the Civil Law Reform Committee of the Ministry of Justice Sanjeewa Dasanayake, Advisor to the Infrastructure Committee of the Ministry of Justice Shamith Fernando, High Court Judge M.K.A. Peiris, Amal Randeniya, Sanjaya Gamage, Nalin Silva, Co-Convener of the Committee Chandima Welikala and Co-Convener of the Committee Ruvini De Silva.
The committee was appointed with the aim of creating a more efficient judicial service by reducing the number of pending cases, unnecessary delays and overcrowding, as well as the number of cases that could not be controlled by a single judge.
The Minister of Justice said the committee had given its best efforts to identify and address all issues in an effective and efficient manner while maintaining its ultimate objective at the forefront.