Unlike the previous regime, the present government under the leadership of Maithripala Sirisena will not intervene with the activities of the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
“The Supreme Court is no more under the control of the government,” he said.
“We got out of the control of the Supreme Court, since we have freed the Supreme Court from the grip that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government had. The present government never controls the Supreme Court,” he said. “The Supreme Court is free to carry out its duties and the government is only facilitating the Supreme Courts for its smooth function,” he said. The Prime Minister made these remarks while opening an International Arbitration Centre in Colombo yesterday.
The International Arbitration Centre is housed in the World Trade Centre, Colombo. “Establishing an International Arbitration Centre in the country is a long felt need,” the Prime Minister said.
“Sri Lanka has the potential to become an international arbitration centre, which can serve internationally. The government which aims to make Sri Lanka an international arbitration hub in the region has set up an International Arbitration Centre,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government has focused attention on developing Sri Lanka as a regional hub of providing services related to commercial, industrial trade law taking into consideration the professional capabilities in the legal sphere of Sri Lanka.
He further added that Sri Lanka needs a strong legal background, in which the rule of law and human rights are protected. Accordingly, new and modern laws should be implemented to form this international standard legal background.
The Prime Minister said that the process of arbitration is not a new concept to the country since the process of arbitration has been in practice from the ancient Anuradhapura period. .
The Prime Minister said that the new arbitration centre has been established in an ideal building in Colombo.
Speaking on the country’s legal system, he added that the country needs a strong legal system and legal background when engaging in international arbitration and international trade. As a result of exposing the country to the Western commercial practices and with the arrival of the Portuguese, it paved the way for establishing Roman Dutch law. Even though the Roman Dutch Law is still in practise, it was followed by British law and commercial law.
He noted that Sri Lanka has one of the oldest Supreme Courts in the world.
The PM added that without upholding the law, it is useless to have an arbitration process as it is just the setting up of a building.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added that measures were taken to establish the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID)with the intention of probing serious frauds and commercial crimes. Similarly, the Organised Crime Division will also investigate against commercial crimes.
He further said that all institutions including the BOI should work together for the further development of the arbitration centre.
“We must have strong and modern laws as far as Sri Lanka’s commercial law is concerned” he noted.
He said that the sport sector is an another sector of arbitration. He urged the legal profession to play a an active role in developing the process of International Arbitration Centre. The International Arbitration Centre has been established as a step towards this end with the objective of establishing an unbiased, efficient and trustworthy mechanism within the Asian region to fulfill the needs of the international business community.
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