Wednesday 12 July 2023


12 July 2023

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam




Q:  by The Daily Morning : For the most part, a lawyer’s decision to represent a certain client or suspect is judged by the allegations against the suspect. Does a lawyer take into account those allegations when accepting a case?


A: by Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President Kaushalya Nawaratne:  No. Every person is entitled to be heard and represented before a court and is considered innocent until proven guilty. That is a well-established legal principle. There is no question about it just because allegations have been made, and just because the client is a suspect, even if within a popular context.


The Public: The lawyer, in most cases, represents for a fee. The fee charged is as per the status of the lawyer.  Hence the ethics of the legal profession has to be strong in terms fees charged.

Q: Is there a code of ethics for lawyers?

A: We certainly have one. We are governed by and are subject to those ethics. These ethics have been accepted by the Supreme Court as well. If one is found to have violated it, penal sanctions would be imposed against them.

The Public: How is one to access the code of Ethics that one’s lawyer is bound by? Most successful litigants get the outcomes they seek and fail to contribute to the improvement  of the court’s system. The litigants who, experience pain of failure, despite following the rules of the system, are the ones whose pain, if unaddressed becomes a permanent wrong that mutates as sin. Sins are beyond human control. It is therefore important to support such litigants to self-represent, if an action is initiated by them against a lawyer.


Q: What do you think about the future of the legal profession in Sri Lanka and what changes do you think should be made?


…………… We find that in the recent past, many things were said and done in certain domains, especially in Parliament, under the guise of parliamentary privileges. So, these are matters which we will discuss, including in terms of what steps need to be taken to protect the integrity of the legal profession – including those of the members of the judiciary. It is very unprofessional and unwarranted for Parliamentarians to pass comments inside Parliament to which no one has the right to reply. That is something I will take a very firm stance on.


The Public: A member of Parliament has the responsibility to speak the truth in Parliament. The right to reply is not with the those outside Parliament, but with other members of Parliament within the sovereign circle of the Parliament. The parallel applies also to the Courtroom where the litigant who is represented by a lawyer has no right to reply. Yet lawyers driven by the urge to win often disregard the litigants. The exceptions I discovered include Mr Harsha Fernando who always took time to hear and include what I had to say. All other lawyers who represented me, lacked listening habits.

As per my discovery, when we express truth the ‘position’ receives it. We may be given failure in court but the value of our truth comes back to us in appropriate form, at the time and in the form of our need. That is how the journalists who publish truth become more naturally powerful than politicians, in some nations. Thus, if we express truth known to us as per someone’s need, Truth has the duty to complete itself and become positive energy.  If lawyers speak the truth in court, the Nation would not depend on Politicians for good governance.

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