Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession

New President’s Counsel:

The appointing of President’s Counsel recognise the work of prominent lawyers who have made their mark in the legal field. They also reflect notable achievements over the years including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence within the legal system.

President’s Counsel is a professional rank and status, conferred by the President under Article 33 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka which is recognised by courts. It does not entail the title holder to be a state prosecutor or employed by the state or part of the office of the President. Appointments are made from Attorneys-at-Law who have practised as counsel in original and appellate courts for many years either in the official or unofficial bar.

In the Daily News segment on the 25 Attorneys-at-Law that were appointed by the President, today we focus on three individuals who have outstanding achievements. They are Chandaka Jayasundere, Anura B. Meddegoda and Karunaratne Herath. Following are their profiles:


Chandaka Jayasundere

Chandaka Jayasundere is an Attorney at Law specialised in commercial law with special emphasis on maritime law, transport law, cross border trade law, company law, intellectual property law and arbitration.

His practice since 1991 has been mainly in the Commercial High Court, Admiralty Court and the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka representing both corporate and individual clients. He has also represented clients at several local and international Arbitration proceedings and has also acted as an Arbitrator.

He holds an LLM in International Trade Law from the University of Colombo. He has written extensively and presented papers on maritime law, cross border trade law, transport law, and arbitration.

Jayasundere commenced his Legal Practise in 1991 specialising in commercial law with special emphasis on maritime law, multimodal transport law, international trade law, company law, intellectual property law and arbitration in the District Court, Commercial High Court and the Admiralty Court. He also worked Part time as a Counsel in the chambers of President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Isvaran.

He lectures at Sri Lanka Law College on the Law of Contract and Admiralty Law. He is a visiting Lecturer on Arbitration Law, Masters of Law Programme, Faculty of Law, and University of Colombo. He also lectures on Admiralty Law at Practical Training Course for Apprentices conducted by the Bar Association and Sri Lanka Law College. Lecturer on Civil Procedure, Training Courses for Apprentices conducted by the Sethukavalar Foundation and Sri Lanka Law College Course Director and Lecturer, Certificate Course on Shipping Law and Practice, organised by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Commercial Law and Practice (ICLP), Colombo and Visiting Lecturer for Diploma in Commercial Arbitration, Institute of Commercial Law and Practice (ICLP), Colombo.

Jayasundere also contributed thorough his writings including, Co- authored with K. Kanag-Isvaran, Sri Lanka chapter in Maritime Liens and Claims by William Tetley, The Sethusamuduram Ship Canal Project: Where does the law stand? How should Sri Lankan react? (2005) Sri Lanka Law College Law Review, Multimodal Transportation and Introduction (2005) Junior Bar Law Journal. Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Author of Gap Analysis of Sri Lankan Maritime Legislation and the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 - Development of National Action Plans in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, International Labour Organisation - 2008 , The Failure of the Law to introduce a universal liability regime to govern multimodal transport (2010) Junior Bar Law Journal Vol.1. Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Logistics Contracts Colombo Forum on Contract Law, 2013 and Implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 – How Sri Lanka faces to new Challenges (2014) – Hulftsdorf Law Journal, Colombo Law Society Publication.

Following are some of his important cases; he appeared for defendant for the first case in Sri Lanka to be heard using video evidence in the Commercial High Court, Southern Group Civil Construction (Pvt) Ltd Vs. Ocean Lanka (Pvt) Ltd reported in 2002 (1) Sri Lanka Law Reports 22, Scarlet Shipping Company Limited Vs Mettalloyd Limited CALA 69/200, Master Divers Limited vs. Anusha Karunaratne, CA Appeal 162/2004, of Judgement of 9th March 2010, Kaluthara Bodhi Trust vs. Kaluthara Multipurpose Cooperative Society SC Appeal No: 19/2011, Judgement of 08th December 2012 – Reported in the Supreme Court Web Site of important Judgements of the Supreme Court, Lionair (Pvt) Limited vs. Ceylinco Leasing Corporation SC CHC APPEAL No. 43/2010 judgement dated August 5th, 2013– Reported in the Supreme Court Web Site of important Judgements of the Supreme Court, Amaradasa Liyanage vs. Sampath Bank PLC, S.C. Appeal No. 126/2012 judgement of 04th April 2014 – Reported in the Supreme Court Web Site of important Judgements of the Supreme Court, Section 16 of the Recovery of Loans Act No. 4 of 1990 and Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Limited Vs. Motor Vessel “SCI Mumbai” , C A. PHC APN 47/2013 judgement dated May 5th, 2014.


Anura B. Meddegoda

Anura Bandara Meddegoda’s career as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court spans 34 years. He took Oaths on October 2, 1981.

Prior to being called to the Bar, Meddegoda apprenticed in the Chambers of Faisz Musthapha, President’s Counsel, late President’s Counsel Nehru Goonetilleke, and late President’s Counsel Tivanka Wickremesinghe, .

Shortly after his Call to the Bar, on January 1, 1982, Meddegoda joined the Department of the Attorney General as a State Counsel. In 1993, he was appointed a Senior State Counsel. During the course of his legal career in Sri Lanka, as Counsel for the State, he has appeared in major criminal prosecutions in the High Court and the Magistrates’ Courts of Sri Lanka and also appeared in the Superior Courts.

In 1994 Meddegoda joined the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal where he worked in the Office of the Prosecutor as a prosecuting Trial Attorney/Legal Adviser. He has acquired wide and varied experience in international law and relations, particularly in the investigation and prosecution of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights and has also been actively involved with maintaining peace and security and working towards reconciliation amongst communities in strife torn countries in the former Yugoslavia.

In cases before the International Criminal Tribunal, Meddegoda has appeared as Counsel in trials as well as appeals before both the Trial and Appellate Chambers of the Tribunal. Whilst working in the International Criminal Tribunal, he has had nearly 10 years’ experience in negotiations between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Government of the Republic of Croatia (GRC) and the FRY. These negotiations at meetings with Prime Ministers, Ministers of government, Ambassadors, Judges, Prosecutors and other law enforcement officials have resulted in improved relations between the International Criminal Tribunal and the relevant States, particularly in the areas of State co-operation and support in the flow of information and evidence, establishing protocols and modalities for such purpose, enacting new legal instruments and proactive support in the arrest and surrender of fugitives.

In a letter addressed to the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs about his work in the International Criminal Tribunal, the then Prosecutor Justice Louise Arbour has stressed upon the important role Meddegoda has played in the Office of the Prosecutor “in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia” and commended him as an “outstanding lawyer” “performing work of the highest professional standard” and that the Government of Sri Lanka and the Department of the Attorney General “has every right to be proud of the contribution” made by him.

Upon his return to Sri Lanka in 2005, Meddegoda reverted to active legal practice and has developed an extensive and successful practice appearing in a very large number of cases, in both the original and appellate courts in the areas of Fundamental Rights, Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Matrimonial Law, Industrial and Labour Law, Testamentary Law, and Intellectual Property Law. He hs also been retained in particular cases to appear as Junior Counsel to eminent senior lawyers namely, Faisz Musthapha PC, Romesh de Silva PC, Shibly Aziz, PC, Gamini Marapana PC, S. Sivarasa PC, M. M. Zuhair PC, Dr. B. J. P. De Almeida Gunaratne PC, and the late C. R. de Silva PC.

He has also been retained to appear on behalf of, and also provided advice on Sri Lankan legal issues to, several foreign governments and Law Firms.

Meddegoda has also had the opportunity to address judicial and law enforcement agencies in the former Yugoslavia and public fora including the Asian Society of International Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross on a variety of legal issues pertaining to international humanitarian law. He possesses an Honour’s degree in International Law from King’s College University of London.

He has been a Lecturer in the law of Criminal Procedure at the Sri Lanka Law College and been a visiting lecturer in International Humanitarian Law in the University of Colombo. He has also lectured and made presentations at a number of Seminars including Seminars organized by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and the Colombo Law Society.

Meddegoda has been actively involved with the activities of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) having served in the Executive Committee of BASL during the stewardship of President’s Counsel Shibly Aziz, and President’s Counsel. Upul Jaysuriya, .

He has served on numerous committees of BASL including being Chair of the Public Interest Litigation Committee, Continuing Legal Education Committee, Police-Bar Relations Committee and the Overseas Relations Committee. As Chair of the Public Interest Litigation Committee, Meddegoda appeared in support of several public interest litigation cases including the Pasyala Police shooting case in the Court of Appeal, Matale mass grave exhumation case in the Matale Magistrate’s Court, Rathupaswala incident in the Magistrate’s Court Gampaha, Beruwela communal violence case in the Magistrate’s Court Kalutara.

Meddegoda who has an unblemished record as an Attorney-at-Law has consistently maintained the highest standards of integrity, conduct and professional rectitude.

In April 2004, Meddegoda was appointed as Secretary Ministry of Justice and Judicial Reform by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge which appointment he could not take up due to his ongoing commitments at the time with the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.


Karunaratne Herath

Karunaratne Herath has known many ups and down in his career spanning over 37 years and has overcome them all with great commitment and forbearance to become the first Attorney from the North Central Province to be appointed as President’s Counsel.

Born to Herath Mudiyansalage Herath Banda and Herath Mudiyansalage Dingiri Amma, he hails from the village of Malkaduwawa in Kurunegala and was educated at the Tambullegama Royal College and in the Mahawa Vijayaba Central College.

Early on, Herath showed much promise not in the legal profession but in the arts where he excelled in theatre and drama. His script won first place in the all island school drama competition and brought great honour to his school and the Wayamba.

As a result he received a scholarship to the Lionel Wendt Theatre and was given an opportunity to study for a diploma in theatre production and acting for a year and mixed with several greats of cinema at the time.

His A/L results however got him admission at the Vidyalankara University to study economics and in 1977 he chose to sit for the Law entrance exam. By the time he left Law College, he did so with great honours and as a star pupil of the Law. In 1980, he took oaths as a lawyer.

Herath started his career in the jurisdiction of the Anuradhapura Courts, won many clients and a reputation for hard work and commitment to his work within a short period of time. He also stood out as a lawyer who was well prepared and unlike many lawyers who tried to postpone cases, he was known for finishing cases fast.

Herath has also been known to be involved in public service programmes and took part in many radio shows aimed at increasing awareness of the law among the general public and was also a member of the board at the Anuradhapura General Hospital since 1998. He has supported social welfare activities in all communities in his area.

He has also written many books on the law, namely: the concept of human rights and the law, devolution of power and provincial councils, the government’s land policy and Muslim Law- one of the few comprehensive books on Sri Lanka’s Muslim personal law in relation to Islam and the Shariah and more recently he penned the books; Wildlife Conservation, Forest Conservation and Forest crimes. Herath has won many accolades over the years, namely; the Sri Lanka Peace Service award of ‘Seva Sarani’, in 2005, the International and Inter religious federation of world peace appointed him the Ambassador for Peace and in 2008 the South Asian Academy for Good Governance bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate. 


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