Centre for Policy Alternatives on 18 November, 2020

Rethinking the Attorney General’s Department in Sri Lanka: Ideas for Reform

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The Attorney General of Sri Lanka is the Chief Law Officer of the State and is considered to be the Head of the legal profession. The Attorney General is accorded a unique constitutional position with regards to his duties, privileges and responsibilities, which are defined by both constitutional and statutory provisions, as well as, through convention. However, the importation of the Commonwealth model of the Attorney General, the evolution of the Office of the Attorney General in Sri Lanka, and the increasing complexity and expansion of the legal system, have all resulted in the Attorney General’s Department carrying out various roles and functions, which are served by separate or designated offices in more advanced jurisdictions.

In a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) three different roles played by the Attorney General are examined – the role played in prosecuting crimes; the role played in the passage of legislation; and the role played as legal adviser to the government. In this paper, CPA notes the need for both structural and operational reforms to ensure effectiveness and independence of the Attorney General and also provides ideas for potential reforms.

Download the full report in English, Sinhala and Tamil.