Change Agent

July 10, 2009 (LBO) – An international lawyer’s group has welcome recent comments by Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Chief Justice Ashoka de Silva, who said he would reform a key body which runs key sections of the country’s judicial system. Sri Lanka’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) a three-member body which is chaired by the Chief Justice, has powers to transfer and take disciplinary action of the country’s lower courts.

A mission from International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) that visited the country issued a report ‘Justice in Retreat’ earlier.

The report recommended reform of the JSC and the publication of criteria governing the appointment and disciplining of judges.

“The arbitrary and summary use of disciplinary procedures by the JSC and its effect on the morale of the judiciary was an area of significant concern to the delegation,” Lord Goodhart who led the delegation said in a statement.

“At the beginning of his term in office, the commitment of the new Chief Justice to strengthening the JSC and the rule of law in general, is positive news and will help to enhance public confidence in the justice system.”

In an interview with the BBC this week, Chief Justice de Silva said he had