In pursuance of government`s plans to de-centralize the appellate jurisdiction by establishing 11 Provincial Appeal High Courts, the Judicial Service Commission has announced the appointment of five High Court Judges.
The new judges include Saman Wickramarachchi, K.H. Sumitrapala, W.I. Perera and M.Z. Raseen who were special grade District Judges and the former Senior State Counselor P. Surasena.
The Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission P.W.D.C. Jayathilake said that with the new appointments, the number of High Court Judges will reach 40, the maximum of the cadre and there is a proposal to increase the cadre 60.
He said that it is necessary because the proposed Appeal High Courts will comprise of Two Judge Benches instead of the single Judge Bench in the normal High Courts.
`Accordingly 22 judges will be required for the proposed 11 Appeal High Courts,` he said.
Jayatilake said that establishment of new Appeal High Courts will be completed in this year and new courts will be set up as three in Western Province, two in Southern Province and one each in North Western, North Central, Sabaragamuwa, Uva, Central and Eastern Provinces.
These courts are expected to expedite the hearing of appeal cases as more than 14,000 cases are pending in the Court of Appeal ? in some cases for over ten years.
The first Provincial Appeal High Court is scheduled to be opened in Kandy this month.
With the new arrangements, the cases pending at the Court of Appeal from 2000 onward will be directed to Provincial Appeal High Courts.