Courts Sri Lanka

COURTS OF LAW IN SRI LANKA
 
PRIMARY COURTS
Primary Courts are established under the Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978. There are seven Primary Courts functioning in Anamaduwa, Angunukolapelessa, Kandy, Mallakam, Pilessa, Wellawaya and Wennappuwa. In the other divisions, the Magistrate's Courts exercise the jurisdiction of the Primary Courts.
 
A Primary Court is vested with the following jurisdiction-
  1. Original civil jurisdiction where the debt, damage, demand or claim dos not exceed Rs. 1,500;
  2. The enforcement of Bye-Laws of Local Authorities and matters relating to recovery of revenue of such Authorities;
  3. Exclusive criminal jurisdiction in respect of offences prescribed by the Minister by Regulation;
  4. Offences in violation of provisions of any Act or subsidiary legislation in respect of which jurisdiction is vested;
The Primary Courts Procedure Act, No. 44 of 1980 regulates the procedure in Primary Courts and makes provision for connected matters.
 
All Judges of the Primary Court are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission which is also vested with the power of dismissal and disciplinary control of the Judges.
 
A revision of an Order made by a Primary Court could be made to the High Court of the Province.
 
MAGISTRATE'S COURTS
 
Magistrate's Courts are established under the Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978 for each judicial division in Sri Lanka. The territorial limits of each judicial division is as determined by the Minister in charge of the subject of Justice in consultation with the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal. There are 74 judicial divisions in Sri Lanka.
Sittings of the court are held in a convenient place within the territorial jurisdiction of the division, as appointed by the Minister by Regulation made under section 5(3) of the Judicature Act, No.2 of 1978.
 
Every Magistrate's Court is vested with original criminal jurisdiction (other than in respect of offences upon indictment in the High Court), and is ordinarily empowered to impose sentences upto a fine of Rs. 1,500 and/or 2 years rigorous/simple imprisonment unless power is vested in the Magistrate's Court to impose higher penalties by special provision
 
All Magistrates are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission which is also vested with the power of dismissal and disciplinary control of the Judges.
 
Appeals from convictions, sentences or orders of Magistrate's Courts within a Province lie to the High Court of the Province.
 
DISTRICT COURTS
 
District Courts are established under the Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978 for each judicial district in Sri Lanka. The territorial limits of each judicial district is as determined by the Minister in charge of the subject of Justice in consultation with the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal. There are 54 judicial districts in Sri Lanka.
Sittings of the court are held in a convenient place within the territorial jurisdiction of the district, as appointed by the Minister by Regulation made under section 5(3) of the Judicature Act, No.2 of 1978.
 
Every District Court is a court of record and is vested with unlimited original jurisdiction in all civil, revenue, trust, insolvency and testamentary matters other than such matters as are assigned to any other court by Law.
 
Jurisdiction in respect of commercial disputes which are greater than Rs. 3 million in value and arising in the Western Province, is exercised by the High Court sitting in Colombo- vide High Court of the Provinces (Special Provisions) Act, No. 10 of 1996.
 
All Judges of the District Courts are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission which is also vested with the power of dismissal and disciplinary control of the Judges.
 
Appeals from judgments, decrees and orders of the District Court lie to the Court of Appeal.
 
HIGH COURT OF SRI LANKA
 
CONSTITUTION OF THE COURT
  1. The High Court consists of not less than ten and not more than Forty Judges [Article 111 of the Constitution and section 4 of the Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978] as amended by Act, No. 16 -1989.
  2. Article 154P of the Constitution provides for the establishment of the Provincial High Courts to which Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice from among Judges of the High Court of Sri Lanka.
APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL OF JUDGES
  1. Article 111 of the Constitution as amended by the 17th Amendment - Judges of the High Court are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission made after consultation with the Attorney General.
  2. Judges of the High Court are removable by the President and are subject to disciplinary control by the President on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.
  3. Age of retirement
  4. Section 6(3) of the Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978 - 61 years.
JURISDICTION
  1. Original jurisdiction all prosecutions on indictment (exercised by Provincial High Courts in respect of offences committed within the Province ); admiralty jurisdiction- ordinarily exercised in Colombo;
  2. commercial jurisdiction- vested by the High Court of the Provinces (Special Provisions) Act, No. 10 of 1996;
  3. jurisdiction vested by Article 111L(2) (incorporated by the 17th Amendment) to hear and determine an offence under Article 111L(1), i.e. influencing or attempting to influence any decision or order made by the Judicial Service Commission or influencing any member thereof.
  4. applications for the return of or access to a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (exercised by the High Court of the Western Province)
  5. Appellate jurisdiction of Provincial High Courts- appellate and revisionary jurisdiction in respect of convictions, sentences, orders entered or imposed by Magistrate's courts and Primary courts within the Province;                                                writ jurisdiction in respect of powers exercised under any law or under any statutes made by the Provincial Council of that Province, in respect of any matter set out in the provincial Council list;
  6. appeals from Labour Tribunals, Agrarian tribunals and Small Claims Courts.                                                                   Relevant statutes- Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978; High Court of the Provinces (Special Provisions) Act, No. 19 of 1990; High Court of the Provinces (Special Provisions) Act, No. 10 of 1996, Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Act, No. 10 of 2001
PLACES OF SITTING
 
Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Chilaw, Negombo, Gampaha, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Kandy, Awissawella, Ratnapura, Badulla, Anuradhapura.
 
THE COURT OF APPEAL OF SRI LANKA
 
Address: Superior Courts Complex, Colombo 12, SRI LANKA
Telephone: (94) 1 437498 Fax: (94) 1 435446
 
CONSTITUTION OF THE COURT
 
Article 137 of the Constitution- The court consists of the President of the Court and not less than six and not more than eleven other Judges
 
APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL OF JUDGES
 
The same provisions as govern the Judges of the Supreme Court are applicable.
 
JURISDICTION
 
Article 138- Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and of any law, the Court is vested with the following jurisdiction-
  1. Appeals from the High Court in the exercise of its appellate or original* jurisdiction (Article 139);
  2. Appeals from any court of first instance and any tribunal or other institution;
  3. Sole and exclusive cognizance by way of appeal, revision and restitution;
  4. Power and authority to inspect and examine records of any court of first instance (Article 145);
  5. Jurisdiction to grant and issue according to law, writs of certiorari, prohibition, procedendo, mandamus and quo warranto (Article 140) other than matters relating to the exercise of the powers of the Elections Commission established under Article 103 of the Constitution (as amended by the 17th Amendment);
  6. Jurisdiction to grant and issue writs of habeas corpus (Article 141);
  7. Jurisdiction to grant Injunctions (Article 143);
  8. Jurisdiction to try election petitions in respect of the election of Members of Parliament (Article 144);
  9. *Appeals from judgments, sentences and orders pronounced at a High Court Trial at Bar lie direct to the Supreme Court by virtue of the code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, No. 21 of 1988
SITTINGS OF THE COURT
 
Article 146 of the Constitution- Jurisdiction is ordinarily exercised in Colombo but the Chief Justice may from time to time direct that sittings be held in any judicial zone or district.
The several jurisdictions to be exercised as follows-
  1. from judgments, sentences and orders of the High Court other than judgments, sentences and orders pronounced at a Trial at Bar (see above) - by at least two Judges;
  2. Parliamentary election petitions - by the President or by a Judge nominated by the President or by one or more Judges nominated by the President of whom the President may be one;
  3. Other matters- by a single Judge unless the President directs otherwise;
  4. In the event of disagreement between two Judges - by three Judges who shall review the matter.
AGE OF RETIREMENT
Article 107(5) of the Constitution
- 63 years.
 
REGISTRY
Article 147 of the Constitution- The Registry is in charge of the Registrar who is subject to the supervision, direction and control of the President of the Court of Appeal.
 
Registrar- Ms. M.M. Jayasekera
Telephone- (94) 1 433466
 
JUDGMENTS
The official law reports titled the Sri Lanka Law Reports contain Judgments of the Court. Recent judgments are posted on this web site.
 
THE SUPREME COURT OF SRI LANKA
 
Address: Superior Courts Complex, Colombo 12, SRI LANKA
Telephone : (94) 1328651; Fax: (94) 1 435446
 
CONSTITUTION OF THE COURT
 
Article 119 of the Constitution- The court consists of the Chief Justice and not less than six and not more than ten other Judges.
 
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT
 
Article 118 of the Constitution- the Supreme Court is the highest and final superior court of record and is empowered to exercise the following powers, subject to the provisions of the Constitution-
  1. Jurisdiction in respect of Constitutional matters (Articles 120 to 125)
  2. Jurisdiction for the protection of fundamental rights (Article 126)
  3. Final appellate jurisdiction (Article 127, 128)
  4. Consultative jurisdiction (Article 129)
  5. Jurisdiction in petitions relating to election of President
  6. petitions relating to the validity of a referendum ; appeals from Orders/judgments of the Court of Appeal in other election petitions - Article 130 (as amended by the 14th Amendment)
  7. Jurisdiction in respect of any breach of the privileges of Parliament (Article 132);
  8. Jurisdiction in respect of other matters which Parliament may by law vest or ordain
Appeals from judgments, sentences and orders pronounced at a High Court Trial at Bar lie direct to the Supreme Court.
 
SITTINGS OF THE COURT
 
Article 132 of the Constitution- The several jurisdictions of the Supreme Court is ordinarily exercised in Colombo unless the Chief Justice otherwise directs and, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, is ordinarily exercised at all times by a Bench of at least three Judges ; the Chief Justice may, on his own motion or at the request of two or more Judges hearing any matter or on the application of a party , if the question involved is in the opinion of the Chief Justice one of general and public importance, direct that an appeal, proceeding or matter be heard by a Bench comprising five or more Judges.
 
Appeals from a High Court Trial at Bar shall be heard by a Bench of five or more Judges.
 
RULES OF THE COURT
 
Article 136 of the Constitution- The Chief Justice with any three Judges of the Supreme Court nominated by him, is empowered to make Rules regulating generally the practice and procedure of the court including the matters specifically referred to in the Article.
 
AGE OF RETIREMENT
 
Article 107(5) of the Constitution- 65 years.
 
REGISTRY
 
Article 135 of the Constitution- The Registry is in charge of the Registrar who is subject to the supervision, direction and control of the Chief Justice.
 
Registrar- Mr. Bandula Atapattu, Attorney-at-Law
Telephone- (94) 1 435446.