Former AG and Constitutional Council member Shibly Aziz no more

Shibly Aziz

October 8, 2018 (LBO) – President’s Counsel Shibly Aziz has passed away.  Sections of his biography from Wikipedia reproduced below:

Mohamed Shibly Aziz is a well-known and eminent President’s Counsel in Sri Lanka who has contributed extensively to the development of the legal system in the country from on or about 1968. He is the former Attorney General of Sri Lanka and has served on a number of national commissions and statutory bodies and represented Sri Lankan in several international fora.

Shibly Aziz completed his senior school studies from 1954 to 1963 at Royal College, Colombo. He thereafter continued his tertiary education in University of Ceylon, Peradeniya where he read his LLB with Honours and thereafter proceeded to the United Kingdom and obtained an LLM from the University of London and Diploma in Shipping & Maritime Law (University of London) and Diploma in Air and Space Law(University of London -London Institute of World Affairs).

Shibly Aziz took oaths in 1968 as an Attorney-at-Law and was in 1969 appointed State Counsel at the Attorney-General’s Department. He was thereafter appointed President’s Counsel in 1988, the highest honour afforded to a lawyer in the Sri Lankan legal system, in recognition for his professional contributions and exemplary conduct as a lawyer. He was holding the substantive post of Deputy Solicitor General when he was conferred ‘silk’, which is yet unique in the Attorney General’s Department.

He served in the department for 27 years and was promoted to Solicitor General in 1992, and finally, served as Attorney-General from 1995 to 1996.

He served both the criminal as well as the civil side of the Department, but his forte was civil law where he was handpicked to lead the State in several important landmark cases, including appearing in the 13th Amendment Case before the Supreme Court as junior Counsel to the then Attorney General. During his service in the Attorney General’s Department, Shibly Aziz, among his other functions, advised the Government in Air and Space Law and on Sri Lanka’s international commitments in aviation law such as compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices. He also negotiated several bilateral air services agreements on behalf of the Government, having participated in over 35 bilateral discussions between Sri Lanka and about 15 countries and in several airline to airline discussions on behalf of the Government. He facilitated the implementation of changes in the administration and operational systems relating to the Colombo International Airport.

Shibly Aziz represented Sri Lanka in a number of international fora, including as the Chief Delegate at the second International Air Transport Conference 1980 ICAO held in Montreal; a member of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the Conference of the Attorneys General of Asia and the Pacific, held in Colombo in 1985 and in Seoul in 1990.

Shibly Aziz also served as a consultant in International Relations and Legal at Airlanka Limited, the national carrier, from 1990 to 1994. He was appointed Director, Airport and Aviation Services Limited (Airport Authority) from 1985 to 1994.

He was also instrumental in drafting legislation in the country, particularly air navigation laws such as the extensive amendments made to the Air Navigation Ordinance.

Since his retirement as Attorney General of Sri Lanka in 1996, he has been in active private practice in the Appellate Courts and the Commercial High Court of Colombo where he specialises in administrative and fundamental rights matters, shipping law, aviation law, contracts entered into with international agencies and multinational corporations relating to joint venture projects with the Government and/or public entities in Sri Lanka; loan agreements with foreign lending organisations; privatisation agreements; securities law; and commercial law. He was recently appointed as an independent expert witness on public law in the series of international arbitrations concerning the hedging disputes that were instituted against the Government by a number of international banks.

Recently he participated in two high profile and prestigious International arbitrations, both in the capacity of an Expert witness. The first set of arbitrations conducted in Singapore and London were in respect of three claims made by International Banks against the Sri Lanka Government arising out of Hedging operations entered in into by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the other was another International Arbitration conducted in Singapore between the Maldivian Government and GMR an Airport developer in India. He gave evidence at the arbitrations in respect certain aspects of Sri Lankan and Maldivian Law. He was anso an arbitrator another International Arbitration conducted at KLRCA Malaysia relating to a contractual claim. This is an addition to other arbitrations conducted in Sri Lanka where he regularly functions as an arbitrator

Shibly Aziz was member of the Sri Lanka Law Commission from 1994 to 2003, and 2011 to 2015 and a member of the Council of Legal Education from 1992 to 1996, 2012. He was also Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka from 2003 to 2005. He has once again been re appointed as the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority in 2015 in recognition of his wide knowledge of the subject. He has since of late (July 2015) been appointed by the President on the nomination of Parliament to the Constitutional Council in terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka as a member to represent Civil Society, with two other civil society representatives.

Shibly Aziz was a lecturer at Sri Lanka Law College from 1982 to 1988 and a lecturer in shipping and aviation law at the postgraduate Diploma course in Trade and Investment Law of the University of Colombo.

He has also authored a number of academic publications including co-authoring Administrative Law & Law of Public Corporations in 1985 for the Open University of Sri Lanka, and conference papers such as the”Enjoyment of Fundamental Rights – Limitation, problems and experiences in Sri Lanka Since 1978″ presented to the American Studies Association of Sri Lanka at the Seminar on Constitutions of the US and Sri Lanka – a Comparative Study– held in 1987; “Winding Up Procedures in Company Law” presented at the Seminar on Company Law in 1994 held in Colombo; and “Admiralty Law in Sri Lanka – its history and application” – presented in 1994 by the Ceylon Association of Ship’s Agents(CASA).

Shibly Aziz was voted into office as the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka in 2010 and served his maximum tenure in office until 2012. During his tenure in office, Shibly Aziz was recognised as one of the most apolitical presidents the association has had, emphasising in his campaign the need to remove bipartisan politics from the association and the need for de-politicization of the issues of the legal system of the country.

Representing the interests of almost 15,000 lawyers in the country as President of the Bar Association, Shibly Aziz was keen to develop the image of the Sri Lankan legal system domestically and internationally as a credible, efficient, and transparent system.


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