Top South Asian legal professionals to meet in Sri Lanka next week

Judges and legal practitioners and academics from South Asia are scheduled to meet in Sri Lanka for the 14th South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in Law (SAARCLAW) Conference, which will be held from 27-29 October at the Taj Samudra Hotel.

The conference will deal with timely issues like artificial intelligence, human trafficking, FDIs and environmental protection concerns.

This marks the third time that Sri Lanka will be hosting a conference of such nature. Established in Sri Lanka in 1991, the conference has over the span of 25 years provided a platform for legal professionals from the South Asian region to meet and discuss issues of mutual interests pertaining to justice, legal reforms, good governance and enforcement.

“The organisers have decided to host the conference in Sri Lanka this year in celebration of its silver jubilee,” stated SAARCLAW President Nihal Jayamanne.

In October 1991, 175 members of the legal community from the South Asian region signed the SAARCLAW Charter in Colombo which was followed by the conference organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. The first Secretary General Dhara Wijayathilake briefed the media yesterday, recalling how three or four people from countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh had taken the initiative to make this conference a reality.

The conference also marks the first official meeting of the chief justices of SAARC countries since 1995. It is a closed-door event attended only by the chief justices and gives them the opportunity to consider the relevance of judiciaries within South Asia. This year too Chief Justices from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan will meet with Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice Priyasath Dep. Some of the other top professionals attending the conference are K.K. Venugopal (the current Attorney General of India), Amirul Islam (Bangladesh), Mehmood Mandviwalla (Nepal) and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

The conference will be kicked off on 27 October by President Maithripala Sirisena and the keynote address will be delivered by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

On 29 October eight panel discussions will be held on the topics ‘Artificial Intelligence and Human Aptitude working in Tandem’, ‘A Common Regional Platform for Combating Climate Change’, ‘The Confluence of Law and Technology’, ‘The Role of Law and Judicial Activism’, ‘Role of Lawyers in Advancing Separation of Powers’, ‘Promoting FDIs and Cross Border Transactions in the SAARC Region’, ‘Role of Law in Ensuring Compliance with Corporate Governance Rules’ and ‘The Role of National and International Labour Migration in South Asia’.

Currently there are 204 foreign delegates and 100 Sri Lankan delegates who have registered for the conference.

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