Legal and Judicial Sector Assessment

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  • Publication
    Sri Lanka : Justice Sector Review
    (Washington, DC, 2013-06) World Bank
    Improvement of the performance of the judiciary is an important part of a growth agenda for Sri Lanka as it moves to middle income country status. The present government has set ambitious targets to double gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by 2016 and has cited the need for a more efficient judicial sector as a means of reducing poverty. This is consistent with the broad historical evidence that a well-functioning judicial sector is the most effective long-term instrument for securing property rights and enforcing contracts, which in turn are critical factors for investment and commerce, and hence poverty reduction and economic growth. Sri Lanka ranks 133rd in the 2013 doing business's sub-index on enforcement of contracts, a level that is comparable to other South Asian countries but lower than other middle income comparators such as Thailand (ranked 23rd) and Malaysia (ranked 33rd). Identifying the contributing factors to inefficiency in Sri Lanka's courts in hearing commercial cases is the main purpose of this review. The findings in the report are based on available statistics on court performance and interviews with key stakeholders in the justice sector. The report is structured as follows: chapter one gives introduction, chapter two gives organization and management of the courts, chapter three gives data on case handling in courts, chapter four deals with private sector approaches to dispute resolution, chapter five focuses on legal and procedural issues in commercial cases, chapter six gives past reform efforts, and chapter seven gives conclusions and recommendations.