Title of the talk: Value of Rule of Law in Democracy
Hon’ble Mohan Peiris, has been appointed as the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka on 15th January 2013. His Lordship was the Attorney General of Sri Lanka from 2008 to 2011 and became the Senior Legal Advisor to the Cabinet of Ministers in 2011
Justice Mohan Pieris was admitted as an Attorney-at-Law to the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1975 and as Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1978.
In 1981 he joined the Attorney General’s Department as a State Counsel and retired as Senior State Counsel in 1996.
He practiced for a period of 15 years in civil, public law and arbitration. During this time he trained at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy at Harvard Law School, the Centre for Police and Criminal Justice Studies at Jesus College, Cambridge and at George Washington University.
He has been on several Sri Lanka delegations to international forums: The United Nations Human Rights Council, United Nations Environmental Program, South Asian Agency for Regional Cooperation in Law and Tariff Negotiations with the European Commission.
Rule of Law means that Law is supreme and is above every individual. No individual whether if he is rich, poor, rulers or ruled etc are above law and they should obey it. In a narrower sense the rule of law implies that government authority may only be exercised in accordance with the written laws, which were adopted through an established procedure. The principle of Rule of Law is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary actions of the government authorities. The concept of “Rule of Law” is the building block on which the modern democratic society is founded. Laws are made for the welfare of the people to maintain harmony between the conflicting forces in society. One of the prime objects of making laws is to maintain law and order in society and develop a peaceful environment for the progress of the people. The concept of Rule of Law plays an important role in this process.
Why should one attend this event?
For a lawyer and a layman alike, one of the hardest questions to answer is “What is law”. Is law simply a set of rules that everyone is bound by? Such a simplistic answer would not do justice to the nuanced framework that the law represents. As a concept and a phenomenon, the rule of law is a system that exists to set limits on human civilization and the entities that govern such civilizations. Regardless of your understanding of the law or even willingness to adhere to it, the rule of law is what makes the world function smoothly and keep us from reverting to a state of feral existence. This speech on the rule of law will be a simple but riveting exploration of one of the fundamental building blocks of a democracy; the rule of law. We will look at the past, the present and the future of our country through the perspective of Justice Mohan Peiris who was entrusted with being the guardian of the concept of rule of law in Sri Lanka during his tenure as the Chief Justice.