From 27 – 29 April 2023, the Foundation and its partners hosted a Judicial Dialogue in Galle.
As part of the Foundation’s most recent project in Sri Lanka, titled ‘Strengthening the Rule of Law and Democratic Principles in Sri Lanka in Times of Crisis‘, and in collaboration with the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales and the Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute, the Judicial Dialogue was organised between Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka, justices from comparative jurisdictions, and select local and foreign academics.
The organisation of this event was historic as it was the first of its kind convened in Sri Lanka. It followed the global trend in favour of the organisation of international engagements and conferences between judges of different jurisdictions and academics to support and advance quality judicial decision-making and democratic principles. During the Dialogue, which took a hybrid format, participants discussed a variety of topics including the evolution of the rule of law, the judicial review functions of Sri Lanka’s apex courts, comparative approaches to judicial review in other jurisdictions, and the way that judicial engagement with foreign authorities, both in judgements and through direct meetings between judges, might contribute to improved judicial reasoning.
Participants in the Dialogue, besides the Honourable Sri Lankan Justices, included retired Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, Kate O’Regan, who presented the key-note address, and other eminent scholars from prestigious institutions based in Sri Lanka, Australia, Singapore, India, the UK and the USA. The Dialogue provided an opportunity for participants to share ideas and experiences across legal disciplines and jurisdictions. Beyond this, certain sessions in the Dialogue were structured to create a forum for the Sri Lankan Justices to reflect privately on the relevance, or otherwise, of the topics discussed to their daily work.
It is anticipated that this initial engagement between the Foundation, its partners, and Sri Lanka’s apex courts will be built upon in future events which seek to promote advanced reflection and debate on conceptual aspects of judicial review and other themes relevant to democracy and the rule of law.
The project is generously funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.