About LAWASIA, the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific
As the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific, LAWASIA brings together under a regional umbrella, the peak bodies representing lawyers of the ESCAP region and individual members of the legal community from around the world.
In this capacity, LAWASIA has, over fifty years, operated as a platform to promote cross-jurisdictional exchanges of legal information and education, as a voice of the legal profession and as a conduit for encouraging adherence to commonly shared principles of rule of law, high standards in legal practice and protection of human rights.
Through its linkage to over 40 member organisations, LAWASIA has exposure to a collective membership of over 1 million lawyers worldwide.
LAWASIA facilitates its members’ participation in the most dynamic economic region in the world. Since its inception in 1966, LAWASIA has built an enviable reputation among lawyers, business people and governments, both within and outside the region, as a committed, productive and genuinely representative organisation.
Its mission is to promote universally high standards of legal practice, to be a voice of the legal community of the region, to uphold the rule of law and to protect human rights across a diverse range of political, cultural, social and economic contexts in the region.
About the Hosts – the Bar Association of Sri Lanka
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) founded in 1974 is the premier and only statutorily recognised professional organisation for lawyers. During the last few years the BASL played a pivotal role in upholding the Rule of Law, Democracy and the Independence of the Judiciary.
At present its membership consists of over fourteen thousand (14,000) Attorneys-at-Law and is spread throughout the island with the largest concentration being in Colombo. The Bar Council consists of its office-bearers and delegates from various branches/Associations and consists of over five hundred (500) Members in the Apex body. The Executive Committee comprising its principal office bearers including Zonal Vice Presidents are entrusted with the regular administrative functions and meets at least once a month to approve the Accounts, or approve and clarify matters including decisions of the Executive Committee.
The BASL has various Standing Committees to deal with various areas in compliance with its objects such as Professional Purposes and Ethics Committees, Finance and Tax Committees, Continuing Legal Education Committee, Public Interest in Law and Rule of Law Committees, Legal Education and Negotiation and Soft Skills Committees, Law Week, Junior Bar Commiittee, International Relations Committee etc.
The Objects of the BASL as constituted include:
- The maintenance of the honour and independence of the Bar of Sri Lanka;
- The promotion and protection of the interest, welfare, rights and privileges of the Bar including the establishment of Provident and Welfare Schemes;
- The promotion of good relations and co-operation between the Bar and the public, the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive and lawyers of other countries;
- The extension of co-operation and support towards the maintenance of the honour and independence of the Judiciary of Sri Lanka;
- The consideration of matters of national importance relating to the Rule of Law and Administration of Justice and if need be, making of representations thereon to the Government and/or any other relevant authority and taking any further steps in respect thereof including filing of actions or intervening in actions in Courts of Justice;
- The maintenance of standards of professional conduct by the promotion of honourable practice, prevention of malpractice and other conduct unworthy of an Attorney-at-Law, the formulation and interpretation of rules of professional conduct and etiquette, the settlement of disputed points of practice and the decision of all questions of professional etiquette, usage of courtesy between or among Attorneys-at-Law;
- The appointment of such Committees as the Council may consider necessary either on its own or in consultation with the Judges of the Supreme Court, in connection with and for the maintenance of discipline in the profession;
- The promotion, observance and the protection of Human Rights and liberties including the protection of the right of access to the Courts and of legal representation before Courts, Tribunals and other persons or bodies, judicial, administrative and investigating authorities;
- The initiation, promotion and support of Law Reform and the improvement of the Administration of Justice and Judicial Procedure;
- The consideration of all questions affecting interests of the profession and if need be, making of representations to the legislature or other authority in relation to legislative measures affecting the profession as well as the public;
- The establishment, maintenance and support of a system of prompt and efficient legal aid services whether in association with the Government, other Institutions, individuals or bodies or otherwise howsoever;
- The furtherance of legal education and study of the Law and to foster international and regional co-operation in the study of Law and the Administration of Justice;
- The performance of any other acts for or conducive or incidental to the carrying out of the foregoing objects.