Drafting ‘Family Law Act’ a gigantic task: Academic 

By Pamodi Waravita 


Any move to draft an all-encompassing family law for Sri Lanka would have to, among others, codify existing laws governing familial relationships and related aspects, including marriage and divorce, the custody of children, and property rights, said legal academic Prof. Sharya Scharenguivel. 

She explained this in connection with a query made by The Morning with regard to the Cabinet decision on 11 January to approve a proposal to appoint a 10-member committee of experts to study the family laws of other countries and subsequently draft a Family Law Act. 

Speaking to The Morning, Ministry of Justice Reforms Division Assistant Secretary S.R.S. De Silva said that a 10-member advisory committee on family law, chaired by Kushan de Alwis PC and convened by civil law litigator Mokshini Jayamanne, has been appointed to review the family laws of Sri Lanka and draft an act that would address the needed areas of reform. 

When contacted regarding the matter, Prof. Scharenguivel said that it would be an extensive undertaking to consider drafting a new Family Law Act, as this would entail looking into matters other than husband-wife relationships. 

“A Family Law Act would cover areas beyond just marriage and divorce, including property rights, adoption rights, and custody rights,” stated Prof. Scharenguivel. 

The existing Marriage Registration Ordinance No. 19 of 1907 as amended contains procedures relating to marriage, divorce, separation, and other related matters. Sri Lanka also has several customary, personal laws governing aspects pertaining to such from a racial and ethnic, religious, and geographical perspective.