House of Justice to overhaul judicial administration | Sunday Observer

House of Justice to overhaul judicial administration

24 January, 2021

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chief Justice Jayantha C. Jayasuriya PC will lay the foundation stone for the House of Justice building complex at Adhikarana Mawatha, Colombo 12, at a ceremony tomorrow (25).

The Rs. 16,500 million project launched by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) is expected to be completed on January 25, 2024. An area of six acres was allocated for the construction of the complex.

The Ministry of Justice sources said that it is a project which seeks to ‘revitalise and completely overhaul the current outdated approach to infrastructure and the functioning of the judicial administration system’.

“This project is important because our legal system needs an upgrading that is world class,” Justice Minister Ali Sabry said. He said the government plans to improve the entire legal system by improving the infrastructure, increasing the number of judges of the judicial system and digitalising the judicial process.

“It is a long-term plan and a significant milestone. When we talk about the judiciary Hultsdorf is the heart of it,” he said adding by transforming Hultsdorf better facilities will be offered to the public. In an interview with the Sunday Observer last week President of the Bar Association Kalinga Indatissa, PC said restoration and preservation of the old building that housed the Supreme Court since its shifting to the present location was a priority. He said that the historical building is in a dilapidated condition.

The project will consist of four complexes housing a range of courthouses, offices, chambers and support structures. The Magistrate’s Court Complex with 12 Magistrate’s Courts, a Legal Aid Commission Office, Registrar’s Office and Registry; Ministry of Justice and Judges Training Institute Complex and the Ministers and Deputy Ministers Office, Ministry of Justice offices, Arbitration Centre and Judges Training Institute; and a High Court and District Court Complex with eight High Courts, four Commercial High Courts, one High Court of Civil Appeal, 10 District Courts, six Labour Tribunals, two Quazi Courts, Pre-Trial Court and a Claim court; and a quarters’ complex comprising of 40 judges official quarters and 110 officers quarters.

“The current court premises at Hulftsdorp are housed in a colonial-era premise which at the time they were built was sufficient for its purposes.

However, over two centuries later, the expansion of the courts and the population has resulted in the current premises being woefully inadequate.

“They were not designed for the current volume of work and population and it currently consists of a series of quick-fixes for the space and logistics issues which cannot be sustained for a long period.

This has resulted in severe inconvenience to litigants which is not acceptable under the current vision for an efficient administration of justice focusing on the citizen,” the Ministry of Justice sources said.

The House of Justice project is a major milestone in the country’s journey towards reaching excellence in the legal system. The House of Justice will feature an efficient, planned and targeted use of space and resources. It will also feature digitisation and use of modern technology to achieve its targets.