Sept 12, Colombo: Acting on a request made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has released a set of proposals suggesting measures that can be taken to increase opportunities for law education in Sri Lanka and to promote education in law in the future.
These proposals were presented after a research study conducted by the Policy Development Office (PDO) of the Prime Minister's Office. The study has revealed that the number of lawyers in Sri Lanka stands at a minimum, relative to the population of the country.
"As the total number of lawyers is quite low compared to the country's population, it is essential to enhance the opportunities for legal education. This will also provide the foundation for a more law-abiding society," the PDO said in a press release.
The proposal suggests increasing the student intake to the Sri Lanka Law College in order to mitigate the prevailing shortage of lawyers in the country.
High cut off marks for the internal LL.B degree at state universities and the inadequate space available at Sri Lanka Law College have been identified as the factors which limit the opportunities for legal education.
The PDO noted pointed out that according to the statistics in 2016, 8432 students have missed the opportunity to enter state universities to get their LL.B degrees due to high cut off marks although they have been qualified for the university entrance to read for the LL.B. In the same year, only 239 were selected for admission out of 5135 students who have applied to Sri Lanka Law College.
As a solution to this problem, the PDO suggests utilizing the expertise of skilled lawyers in local courts as human resources to create new law schools in districts and introduce new subjects for legal studies in universities.
"Strong District Bar Associations have the capacity to provide practitioners who can be teachers at a Law College in the District. Universities nearby can provide academic support," the PDO suggested.
Conducting entrance examinations under the supervision of Commissioner General of Examination and Council of Legal Education, and other internal exams conducted by the Council of Legal Education, as of now, have been identified as a sensible method of quality control.
"In the same way admission to the Bar would be a matter for the Supreme Court of the Republic, as of now. Successful students can indicate their choice of the Colombo or a District Law College and will be selected on a competitive merit plus residential basis. The Law College of the Council Legal Education is a fee charging institute, and this expansion will not be a strain on the state coffers. Young people will have the opportunity of accessing a quality legal education." the PDO said.
The public can easily get access to these new proposals through the official face book page of the PDO of the Prime Minister's Office (www.facebook.com/policydevelopmentoffice).
However the PDO noted that these proposals do not reflect the official view of the government regarding the matter, but are suggestions for serious consideration.