Public fast losing confidence in administration of justice Shibly Aziz
by Zacki Jabbar
Mar 31, 2010
The public was fast losing confidence in the administration of justice, if one goes by what was heard or read these days, the newly elected President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Shibly Aziz said.

Speaking at the 36th Annual Convocation of the BASL, held at the Cinnamon Lakeside in Colombo on Saturday, he said that they should ensure there was no further decline in the publics perception of the administration of justice.

Calling on lawyers to draw upon the heritage left behind by their erstwhile seniors, Aziz urged them to fight with courtesy and respect to Court, the good battle on behalf of their clients, without being cowed down by anyone. "Similarly, we expect a fair and courteous hearing and a reasoned judgement, whatever it may be."

Lawyers should be ready to advocate unpopular causes if justice so demands and resist any attempts to silence them. They should strive with all their might to enthrone the rule of law and due process, without which, their role and that of the judiciary becomes meaningless, he said.

"The value of the independence of the Bar and of the Judiciary is a fervent desire. The need to act independently and with robustness, is deeply ingrained in our work ethic and our value systems. Any infraction of this disturbs us and makes our efforts worthless. The Bar and the Judiciary will only be performing at much less than its optimum, if this sense of independence is abandoned or removed from us. Without this, one of the vital cogs in the checks and balances imposed by the Constitution and the Law, malfunctions."

Aziz said that the BASL will, as a priority, seek to engage actively with the judiciary to make the delivery of justice faster, whilst retaining its credibility. It would also seek ways and means to make arbitration and lawyer involved mediation, a more acceptable option.

"When I sought election to the post of BASL President, I stated that our primary goal should be the unity of the Bar, our independence and that of the judiciary and we should make both institutions strong, to stand up for justice. I think since then, the Bar has spoken loud and clear, that it is a united Bar they desire and not one with divided loyalties. I am sure that we are already on our way to forging this unity and I look forward to strengthening it in the future."

Aziz was inducted as BASL President by Attorney General Mohan Peiris.

Courtesy: Island