BASL writes to President on appointing PCs | Sunday Observer

BASL writes to President on appointing PCs

7 July, 2019

In a letter addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) urges to ensure that persons with integrity, who are respectable and persons that have upheld an ethical practice in the profession are appointed as President’s Counsels (PC), and seeks an appointment with the President to further discuss the matter.

“The BASL Executive Committee (Ex-Co) observes that appointing President’s Counsels should not be done annually, biannually or every three months,” the letter signed by the Bar Association President, Kalinga Indatissa PC stated.

It goes on to state that the profession that has been in existence in the country for the past two centuries is the only profession recognized by the Constitution.

The Constitution under Article 33 (2) (e) provides authority to the President to appoint as President’s Counsel, ‘attorneys-at-law who have reached eminence in the profession and have maintained high standards of conduct and professional rectitude. Every President’s Counsel appointed under this paragraph shall be entitled to all such privileges hitherto enjoyed by Queen’s Counsel’.

The letter while recognising the President’s unfettered power to appoint PCs states that the President should take cognisance of the requirements that are set out in the said provision in the Constitution in making such appointments.

It further states that members of the profession have raised pertinent concerns regarding the appointments and that in the event appointments are made outside the criteria set out in the Constitution itself it will adversely impact the independence and the integrity of the profession. The BASL proposes that it would be most suitable if recommendations are called from the Chief Justice and the Bar Association for such appointments.