The following Bills Acts and amendments to acts have been prepared by the legal division during this year.
01. CHILDREN JUDICIAL PROTECTION BILL -
This Bill seeks to provide for contemporary realities relating to Child Protection and repeals the antiquated Children and Young Persons Ordinance. It seeks to increase the collaboration between the Court, the police and probation. The best interest of the child is given paramount consideration in this Act. It is expected to submit this as a joint Cabinet Memorandum with the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs.
02. PRESCRIPTION (Special Provisions) BILL -
The Bill seeks to give relief to persons who are displaced or disadvantaged from the provisions of the Prescription Ordinance. The Bill was sent to the Cabinet and Cabinet has referred it to the Cabinet Sub Committee on Legislation.
03. PRESCRIPTION ORDINANCE (Section 15) -
This is with the Legal Draftsman.
04. OBSCENE PUBLICATION BILL -
A section which dealt with child pornography, in the Computer Crimes Bill was removed, on the understanding that it would be included in the New Obscene Publication Bill. The Bill has been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for observation.
05. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE (Special Provisions) Bill -
The Bill was passed by Parliament.
06. AMENDMENT TO THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Act, No. 15 of 1979
The Bill is being drafted, to give effect to certain recommendations contained in the National Human Rights Action Plan.
07. AMENDMENT TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SRI LANKA ACT –
The Bill is being drafted to give effect to certain recommendations in the National Human Rights Action Plan.
08. INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES (AMENDMENT) BILL –
The Bill seeks to empower the President of Labour Tribunals to enforce their awards.
09. PENAL CODE (AMENDMENT) BILL (Disappearances) –
A draft section has been prepared on disappearances in accordance with the National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights.
10. ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION TO VICTIMS AND WITNESS BILL –
This Bill makes provision for providing assistance and protection to victims and witnesses. It has been sent to the Cabinet of Ministers. The Cabinet has referred it to the Attorney-General’s Department.
11. NOTARIES (AMENDMENT) BILL –
Due to the high prevalence of land frauds, it is sought to amend the Notaries Ordinance to provide for bio-metric signature to deeds at the time of signing. The Bill incorporates certain other provisions designed to prevent fraud. The Bill was submitted to the Cabinet and Cabinet has referred it to the cabinet Sub-Committee on Legislation.
12. MUSLIM MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE (AMENDMENT) BILL –
Amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act are being discussed at a Committee appointed by the Hon. Minister of Justice and are in the process of being drafted.
13. PENAL CODE (AMENDMENT) BILL –
The Bill seeks to give relief in cases where the girl and boy in statutory rape cases have been conducting a close consensual relationship. The bill is being considered.
14. PRISONS ADMINISTRATION BILL –
This Bill provides for a new regime for the administration of prisons. The draft Bill has been finalized. The necessary follow up action is being taken.
15. PARENTAGE TESTS IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS BILL -
The Bill provides for DNA tests to be done to determine paternity or maternity. The Bill would be of great assistance in matters such as custody of children, maintenance proceedings and inheritance. The Bill was submitted to the Cabinet, and the Cabinet has deferred it.
16. JUDICATURE (AMENDMENT) ACT (Increase of high Court Judges) –
Subsequent to the Cabinet Memorandum being sent to Cabinet, another request was received to increase the number of High Court Judges to 92.
17. JUDICATURE ACT (SECTION 61 READ WITH 5(3)) - ESTABLISHMENT OF A CHILDREN’S MAGISTRATE’S COURT IN JAFFNA -
Gazette received. Gazette No. 1758/35 dated 17-05-2012.
18. CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE (JUDICIAL MEDIATION) Bill –
The amendments relating to the Civil Procedure Code (JUDICIAL MEDIATION) is under consideration.
19. JUSTICE IN MATTERS RELATING TO CHILD VICTIMS AND WITNESSES OF CRIME –
This Bill provides for assistance to child victims and witnesses within the justice process. It enables several special measures to be taken to assist the child when giving evidence such as giving evidence through video recording or through live link. The Bill was submitted to the Cabinet and the Cabinet has deferred it.
20. HIGH COURT OF THE PROVINCES (SPECIAL PROVISIONS) (COMMERCIAL HIGH COURTS) –
The monetary limit of the Commercial High Court was raised to Rs. 5 million, from Rs.3 million, with effect from 31st May, 2012. The same is Gazetted in Gazette No. 1759/35 dated 25-05-2012.
21. RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS -
It is under consideration.
22. CONTEMPT OF COURT BILL
It is under consideration
23. INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION ACT, NO 10 OF 2001 –
38 applications have been received in respect of child abduction under the Act No.10 of 2001. Most of them could be settled without filing cases. Presently only one case is pending in the High Court under this Act, two children carried to Australia and Italy could be brought back to Sri Lanka.
1.TRANSFER OF OFFENDERS –
Act No. 05 of 1995, provides for the transfer to a specified country of a citizen of such country convicted of an offence in Sri Lanka and transfer to Sri Lanka of any citizen of Sri Lanka convicted of an offence in a specified country. Accordingly, 23 Indian offenders, 50 Pakistan offenders and one Maldives offender have been transferred to relevant countries. A Sri Lankan convicted of an offence in United Kingdom has been transferred to Sri Lanka under the provisions of this Act, to serve his term of imprisonment imposed upon him. Another Sri Lanka prisoner will be brought to Sri Lanka from UK shortly. Negotiations are under way to transfer 10 Sri Lankan prisoners from Maldives in due course.
2.INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION CENTRE -
Developing the country as a regional hub in relation to allied services was identified in the 2010 budget speech, considering the potential in the legal sector and professional standards prevalent in the legal services. In view of this proposal, the Ministry of Justice decided to establish an International Arbitration centre. International Arbitration is a leading method for resolving disputes arising from international commercial agreements and other international relationships and has long asserted its superiority over transnational litigation.
The government has allocated 100 million for this task. The role of the Ministry of Justice in this endeavor is to provide support to establish the centre. During 2012, Ministry of Justice identified the location and design for the centre.
3.Matters pertaining to summons issued by the Courts in Sri Lanka for the service on Defendants Abroad –
In pursuance of Mutual Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters Act, No.39 of 2000, summons issued by the Courts of Sri Lanka with reference to the period between 01st of February to 31st of Dec 2012, have been furnished to different Courts through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as indicated below.
4.Furnishing of summons referred by various Countries to the Courts of Sri Lanka -
Under the Mutual legal Assistance in Criminal and Commercial Matters Act No.39 of 2000, summons referred by various countries are served to the relevant parties living in various parts of Sri Lanka through the relevant courts and 10 summonses were served during the period under review.
5.Submissions of recommendations for the drafts referred to the Cabinet of Ministers -
Recommendations have been submitted for approximately ten drafts furnished by various Ministries to the Cabinet of Ministers.
6.Official Web Site of the Ministry of Justice -
Maintaining and updating the Official web-site of the Ministry of Justice.