Sri Lanka to reform judiciary to avoid delays in legal cases

Jan 06, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government is considering reforms to the country’s legal system to follow a judiciary similar to the British system to avoid difficulties faced by litigants due to laws delays and pending legal cases.

The government says that despite the introduction of many mechanisms to avoid delays in trials, about 650,000 cases are pending in court houses to be heard.

A proposal brought by the Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem plans to introduce a system of judicial mediation as a first step in court proceedings followed by pre-trial procedures.

The government sees judicial mediation as a solution to bring amicable settlements between the parties and avoid delays and workload on the courts.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the Minister’s proposal to bring amendments to Civil Procedure Code to introduce Judicial Mediation and Pre-Trial Procedure within the courts of first instance.

Under the new system, a Judicial Master will be appointed to mediate between the parties and assist them to arrive at a settlement of cases of which the value does not exceed Rs 10 million. The Judicial Master is expected to get matters in dispute elucidated in the pre-trial avoiding unnecessary proof and delays.

“Any other cases which may be specified in the Gazette by the Justice Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice shall also be referred for judicial mediation,” the statement submitted by the Justice Minister to the Cabinet has noted.

The government by introducing new legislation expects to ease the economic difficulties experienced by the people due to delays in law and pending legal cases.

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