Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
|Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
|Style||The Honourable Justice|
|Appointer||President of Sri Lanka|
|Term length||Until the age of sixty-five years|
|Inaugural holder||Edmund Codrington Carrington
|Formation||Royal Charter of Justice of 1801|
|Website||Supreme Court of Sri Lanka|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka is the head of the judicial system of Sri Lanka and is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. The Chief Justice is one of ten Supreme Court justices; the other nine are the Puisne Justices of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. The post was created in 1801.
The Chief Justice is appointed by the President of Sri Lanka with the nomination of the Parliamentary Council. The Chief Justice, The Justices of the Supreme Court and The Justices of the Court of Appeal are addressed as "Your Lordship" and receives the title "The Honourable Justice".
The office of Chief Justice traces its origins back with the founding the Royal Charter of Justice of 1801 by the British. With the establishment of the Supreme Court it was to consist of one principal Judge who shall be called "The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature in the Island of Ceylon" and One other Judge, who was to be called "The Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature in the Island of Ceylon". The charter required the Chief Justice and Puisne Justice to have not less than Five Years experience as Barristers, in England or Ireland to be named and appointed.
Current Chief Justice
The current Chief Justice is The Honourable Justice Mohan Peiris PC. He was appointed on 15 January 2013 following the controversial Impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake, the first woman to hold the position. Peiris was elevated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the approval of the Parliamentary Council. Peiris' appointment drew some criticism. Peiris is considered to be an ally of President Rajapaksa and his appointment was seen by critics as further consolidation of power by the president and his family. Prior to his appointment he was Chairman of Seylan Bank, Senior Legal Officer to the Cabinet and held the post of Attorney General. Peiris was officially inaugurated as Chief Justice at a ceremony in the Supreme Court on 23 January 2013. Peiris is a Roman Catholic.
The appointment and removal of Judges of the Supreme Court is outlined in Chapter XV Article 107. of the Sri Lankan Constitution. It states that "the Chief Justice and every other Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President of the Republic by warrant under his hand". Judges of the Supreme Court shall hold office until the age of retirement of sixty-five years. Article 109. describes appointments of an acting Chief Justice or Judge of the Supreme Court. The President shall appoint another Judge of the Supreme Court to act in the office of Chief Justice when the incumbent is "temporarily unable to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of his office, by reason of illness, absence from the country or any other cause" during such period. Each person appointed to or to act as Chief Justice or a Judge of the Supreme Court shall only take office and enter upon its duties after he or she takes and subscribes or makes and subscribes before the President, the oath or the affirmation set out in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution.
- Oath of office
"I ............................................................. do solemnly declare and affirm / swear that I will faithfully perform the duties and discharge the functions of the office of Chief Justice in accordance with the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the law, and that I will be faithful to the Republic of Sri Lanka and that I will to the best of my ability uphold and defend the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka."
- Removal of office
Judges of the Supreme Court shall hold office during good behaviour. Removal of a judge shall only proceed with an address of the Parliament supported by a majority of the total number of Members of Parliament, (including those who are not present), and then by an order of the President. Reasons for such removal should be on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
The Chief Justice serves as Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission which consist two Judges of the Supreme Court appointed by the President of the Republic. Other duties of the Chief Justice include nominating judges, as may be necessary, to each such High Court. Every Judge shall be transferable by the Chief Justice.
List of Chief Justices
- § Served as provisional
- ¤ Chief Justice and President of the Council
- ° Impeachment charges brought against
- ♦ Elevated from Associate Justice
- † Died in office
Data based on:
- Amerasinghe, A. Ranjit B (1986), The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka: the first 185 years, Sarvodaya
- Chief Justices, 2009, Judicial Service Commission Secretariat 
|Chief Justice of Ceylon (1801-1972)|
|1||Codrington Edmund Carrington||England||March 1801 - 2 April 1806||North|
|2||Edmund Henry Lushington||England||15 April 1807 - 1809||Maitland|
|3||Alexander Johnston¤||Scotland||6 November 1811 - 1819||Wilson|
|4||Ambrose Hardinge Giffard||Ireland||8 April 1819 – 2 March 1827||Barnes|
|5||Richard Ottley||1 November 1827 - 1833|
|6||Charles Marshall||18 February 1833 – 3 March 1836||Wilmot-Horton|
|7||William Norris||27 April 1836 - 1837|
|8||Anthony Oliphant||Scotland||22 October 1838 - 1854||Stewart-Mackenzie|
|9||William Ogle Carr||England||17 April 1854 - 1856||Anderson|
|10||William Carpenter Rowe||1857 - 1859||Ward|
|11||Edward Shepherd Creasy||England||27 March 1860 - 1875|
|12||William Hackett †||3 February 1877 - 1877||Gregory|
|13||John Budd Phear||England||18 October 1877 - 1879||Longden|
|14||Richard Cayley||England||1 October 1879 - 1882|
|15||Jacobus de Wet||South Africa||31 May 1882 – 29 May 1883|
|16||Bruce Burnside||Bahamas||21 May 1883 - 1893|
|17||John Winfield Bonser||13 November 1893 - 1902||Havelock|
|18||Charles Layard||Western Province||26 April 1902 – 18 June 1906||Ridgeway|
|19||Joseph Turner Hutchinson||England||23 October 1906 - 1 May 1911||Blake|
|20||Alfred George Lascelles||England||1 May 1911 - 1914||McCallum|
|21||Alexander Wood Renton||22 August 1914 - 1918||Chalmers|
|22||Anton Bertram||26 July 1918 - 1925||Anderson|
|23||Charles Ernest St. John Branch||3 July 1925 – 25 May 1926||Manning|
|24||Stanley Fisher||11 December 1926 - 1930||Clifford|
|25||Philip James Macdonell||3 October 1930 - 1936||Thomson|
|26||Sidney Abrahams||England||3 July 1936 – December 1939||Stubbs|
|27||John Curtois Howard||1 December 1939 - 1949||Caldecott|
|28||Arthur Wijewardena||15 January 1949 - 1950||Moore|
|29||Edward Jayetileke||1950 - 11 October 1951|
|30||Alan Rose||11 October 1951 - 1956|
|31||Hema Henry Basnayake||1 January 1956 – 31 July 1964||Viscount Soulbury|
|32||Miliani Sansoni||1964 - 17 November 1966||Gopallawa|
|33||Hugh Fernando||1966 - 17 November 1973|
|Chief Justice of Sri Lanka (1972–present)|
|34||Gardiye Punchihewage Amaraseela Silva||1973 - 1974||Gopallawa|
|35||Victor Tennekoon||Central Province||1 January 1974 – 8 September 1977|
|36||Neville Samarakoon°||1977 – 21 October 1984||Jayewardene|
|37||Suppiah Sharvananda||Northern Province||29 October 1984 – 1988|
|38||Parinda Ranasinghe||1988 - 1991|
|39||Herbert Thambiah||Northern Province||1991||Premadasa|
|40||G. P. S. de Silva||1991 - 1999|
|41||Sarath N. Silva||16 September 1999 – 7 June 2009||Kumaratunga|
|42||Asoka de Silva♦||8 June 2009 – 17 May 2011||Rajapaksa|
|43||Shirani Bandaranayake°||North Western Province||18 May 2011 – 13 January 2013|
|44||Mohan Peiris||15 January 2013 – Present|
- List of Acting Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
- List of Justices of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
- List of Justices of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka by court composition
- "History of Supreme Court". Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- Crabtree, James (15 January 2013). "Sri Lanka appoints new chief justice". Financial Times.
- Francis, Krishan (15 January 2013). "Sri Lankan leader replaces chief justice with ally". The Guardian/Associated Press.
- "Chapter XV - The Judiciary". Constitution of Sri Lanka. priu.gov.lk. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- "Fourth Schedule". Constitution of Sri Lanka. priu.gov.lk. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- "Chapter XVIIA". Constitution of Sri Lanka. priu.gov.lk. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- Amerasinghe, A. Ranjit B (1986), The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka : the first 185 years, Sarvodaya Book Pub. Services, ISBN 978-955-599-000-4
- "Overview". Judicial Service Commission Secretariat. Retrieved 19 October 2013.