Volume V
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Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Establishment of Legal Aid Commission.

3. Objects of the Commission.

4. Powers and functions of the Commission.

5. Constitution of the Commission.

6. Term of office of appointed members.

7. Terms of office of nominated members.

8. Commission may Act despite vacancy.

9. Chairman of Commission.

10. Quorum for meetings of the Commission and regulation of procedure.

11. Vacation of office by member.

12. Administrator of the Legal Aid Scheme.

13. Bar Council may give advice to the Commission.

14. Legal Aid Advisory Council.

15. Powers and functions of Advisory Council.

16. Meetings of Advisory Council.

17. Legal Aid Fund.

18. Annual grant by the Government to the Commission.

19. Payments to the Fund.

20. Payments out of the Fund.

21. Exemption of Commission and donors from certain duties and taxes.

22. Staff of the Commission.

23. Accounts and audit thereof.

24. Annual report.

25. State land and State buildings.

26. Protection of members of the Commission for action taken under this Law or on the direction of the Commission.

27. No writ to issue against person or property of a member of the Commission.

28. Regulations.

29. Officers and servants of the Commission deemed to be public servants.

30. The Commission deemed to be a scheduled institution within the meaning of Bribery Act.

31. Interpretation.

27 of 1978.

A LAW to provide for the grant of Legal assistance to deserving persons and for that purpose to establish a Legal Aid Commission, and a Legal Aid Fund, for the grant of money to the fund and for the disbursement thereof, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 6th July, 1978]

1. Short title.

This Law may be cited as the Legal Aid Law.

2. Establishment of Legal Aid Commission.

(1) There shall be established a commission which shall be called the Legal Aid Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission”) consisting of the persons who are for the time being members of the Commission under section 5.

(2) The Commission shall, by the name assigned to it by subsection (1), be a body corporate and shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in such name.

(3) The seal of the Commission—

(a) shall be in the custody of such persons as the Commission may from time to time determine;

(b) may be altered in such manner as may be determined by the Commission; and

(c) shall not be affixed to any document except with the sanction of the Commission and in the presence of two members of the Commission who shall sign the document in token of their presence.

3. Objects of the Commission.

The objects of the Commission shall be to operate throughout Sri Lanka an efficient Legal Aid Scheme to provide to deserving persons—

(a) legal advice;

(b) funds for the conduct of legal and other proceedings for and on behalf of such persons;

(c) the services of Attorneys-at-Law to represent them;

(d) such other assistance as may be necessary for the conduct of such proceedings.

4. Powers and functions of the Commission.

For the purpose of carrying out its objects the Commission may exercise and perform all or any of the following powers and functions—

(a) ensure that legal aid is provided in the most effective, efficient and economical manner;

(b) establish such number of regional or district committees or clinics as it considers necessary, to make Legal Aid available to as many persons as possible;

(c) determine the matters or classes of matters in respect of which Legal Aid may be given;

(d) determine guide-lines for the administration of the Legal Aid Scheme and for the allocation of work and funds taking into consideration—

(i) the need to maintain the independence of the Legal profession;

(ii) the desirability of an assisted person being referred to an Attorney-at-law of his choice;

(iii) the desirability of the services of paid Legal staff being made use of where appropriate in the grant of Legal Aid and the policy and conditions in that regard;

(iv) the need for Legal Assistance to be readily available and easily accessible to deserving persons;

(e) determine, having regard to the funds available and taking into account all relevant recommendations, guide-lines to be observed in respect of payment of costs and disbursement by assisted persons where proceedings are decided, compromised or resolved;

(f) consult with Government and local authorities, educational institutions and community, neighbourhood, professional, social and other groups having an interest in any aspect of the provision of legal aid;

(g) promote, establish, finance and supervise research in respect of Legal Aid;

(h) initiate and carry out educational programmes designed to promote the understanding—

(i) by the members of the legal profession in respect of the need for a scheme of Legal Aid and their obligations and duties in the maintenance thereof and participation therein;

(ii) by the members of the public, who have special needs in that respect, of their rights, powers, privileges and duties under the laws of Sri Lanka;

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