Institutional dichotomies: The Solicitor-General in Sri Lanka

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Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published version

Ireland-Piper, D. (2011). Institutional dichotomies: The Solicitor-General in Sri Lanka. Bond Law Review, 23 (2), 11-25.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 180120, 180108, 180119

© Copyright Faculty of Law, Bond University and the author, 2011




On 31 March 2011, the United Nations Secretary-General’s panel of experts handed down a report on ‘Accountability in Sri Lanka’.1 Among other things, the report observed that the Attorney-General’s Department in Sri Lanka suffers from a lack of independence from the President.2 Further, the Department plays a dual role both advising the government and functioning as the public prosecutorial agency.3 The Sri Lankan Solicitor-General is part of this Department, and is therefore either paralysed by, or a product of, these institutional dichotomies.

This article will seek to explain the role of the Solicitor-General in Sri Lanka, and the controversial relationship between the Attorney-General’s Department and the President. It will briefly explore the historical context, identify the appointment process, and describe the current functions of the Sri Lankan Solicitor-General. It will argue that the Solicitor-General cannot be both public prosecutor and government advisor, and perform either role with integrity. Therefore, the Solicitor-General in Sri Lanka should be established as an independent statutory office, and the prosecutorial function should be transferred to a separate government agency, rather than under the President.



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