Deakin Law School (DLS) was honoured by a second visit by the Sri Lankan judiciary in August 2016. Ten of the judges from the two highest courts in Sri Lanka (the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal) took part in a program of Personal Development offered by DLS. Earlier in the year, DLS was pleased to host the other half of the senior judiciary in a professional development program.
The judges benefited from the expertise of Deakin academic staff, as well as senior members of the Australian judiciary, as they followed a program which outlined contemporary approaches to current legal practices in Australia and in other countries. Areas covered included sentencing policy, constitutional law, the art of writing judgements and international commercial arbitration.
Sri Lanka is a country undergoing significant change and establishing a strong basis for future economic growth. The judges found the program extremely useful as it enabled them to explore different ideologies as they develop their own legal infrastructure.
The Hon. Justice B.P. Aluiwhare of Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court stated that a highlight for him was the session on sentencing conducted by Alfred Deakin Professor, Mirko Bagaric. A subject that is especially topical for him at the moment, he liked that Professor Bagaric provided an opportunity to ‘think on a comparative basis of what happens in other jurisdictions’, as he held a lens over the handing down of judgements in the UK and Singapore, as well as in Australia. He commented that Sri Lanka does not currently have sentencing policy or guidelines and it is good to examine other judiciaries to see what might provide the best outcome for his country. He also enjoyed the fact that Deakin’s teaching methods go beyond text books and the theoretical. His Honour commented that he enjoyed that the teaching involved ‘interaction and discussion of the practicalities’ so he can take it and implement it.
Justice Chitrasiri was especially pleased to have met Professor Bagaric as he had recently quoted one of his recent articles posted in Harvard Law School Magazine.
In speaking with the Hon. Justice K.T. Chitrasiri, it was clear that he also found the program to be stimulating and a good source of knowledge that could be applied to the development of the judicial system in Sri Lanka. He particularly enjoyed a visit to the Family Court in Victoria where he saw current methods of dealing with children in court situations. He felt this might be helpful in developing policy to support the lower judiciary.
The program was run by Deakin Law School’s Centre for the Legal Profession, a newly-established centre which is focused on legal research and in connecting the School with the legal profession within Australia and internationally. This visit is a good example of what the centre is achieving.