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Judicial sector advancement: Infrastructure and HR must both develop, PM

After laying the foundation stone for the House of Justice Project yesterday (25), Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that the development of physical infrastructure of the judicial sector alone would not result in its development, and that human resource should also be developed.

“Therefore, the Government will expand the local education facilities pertaining to the legal sector,” he said.

Minister of Justice, M.U.M. Ali Sabry PC noted that it was the Government’s intention to see to it that a case before a Court of First Instance would conclude within a year, and a case before a Superior Court (the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court) would conclude within six months. He added that instead of wasting time to pay fines in Motor Traffic Courts for motor vehicle related offences of a non-serious nature, facilities should be provided to pay the fines via the internet.

The duo stated thus while participating in the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the House of Justice Project of the Ministry of Justice yesterday (25) in Hulftsdorp. 

The structures to be built under four complexes in the case of this project, spanning an area of six acres, include a Magistrate’s Court (MC) Complex comprising 12 MCs, the Legal Aid Commission Office, the Registrar’s Office and the Registry, the Ministry and the Judges Training Institute (JTI) Complex which will have the Minister’s and Deputy Minister’s Offices, the office of the Ministry, an Arbitration Centre and the JTI, the High Court (HC) and District Court (DC) Complex made up of eight HCs, four Commercial HCs, one HC of Civil Appeal, 10 DCs, six Labour Tribunals, two Quazi Courts, one Pre-Trial Court and one Small Claim Court, and a Quarters Complex with 40 Judges Official Quarters and 110 Officers Quarters. The Project seeks to be efficient, planned and targeted in terms of its use of space and resources, and will feature digitisation and technology.

The total cost of the project, according to the Ministry, is Rs. 16,500 million.

The project is a collaboration with the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau.

The projected timeframe for the completion of the construction is three years.

According to an overview of the Ministry’s proposed reforms and development, some of the targeted reforms in parallel to the aforementioned project include opening 100 new courthouses islandwide, and commencing work on the process of improving the modernisation and upgrading of all courthouses.