Monday, 28 February 2005  
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Welcome to two new SC Judges

by Sarath Malalasekera

The Bench and the Bar welcomed the two new Supreme Court Judges, Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice Saleem Marsoof, PC at the ceremonial sitting held at the Superior Courts Complex recently.

Associated on the Bench with Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, PC, on the occasion were Justice Dr. Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justice T.B. Weerasuriya, Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, Justice Shirani Tillekewardene, Justice N.K. Udalagama, Justice Nimal E. Dissanayake, Justice Raja Fernando, Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice Saleem Marsoof PC.

The President, Court of Appeal and other Judges of the Court of Appeal, High Court Judges, Judges of the Colombo District Court, Colombo Chief Magistrate and Additional Magistrates were accommodated on the dais.

The Registrar of the Supreme Court Bandula Atapattu officiated.

Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana, President's Counsel, Court of Appeal Registrar Ms. M.M. Jayasekera, Senior and Junior Members of the Official and Unofficial Bar, members of the families of the two Judges were present at the ceremony.

BASL President Ikram Mohamed PC addressing the ceremonial sitting said:

"It gives me great pleasure to ceremonially welcome Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice Saleem Marsoof, President's Counsel as Judges of this court, being two of the finest judges in recent times.

Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga after a brilliant secondary education, Your Lordship entered the University of Colombo, and obtained the Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) in the year 1970 and in October 1972, Your Lordship passed the final examination for the 'admission of advocates' conducted by the Law College, and Your Lordship was called to the Bar.

Justice Amaratunga joined the Attorney General's Department as an Acting State Counsel in 1978 and On the 1st of June 1979 was appointed a State Counsel, and obtained the Post Graduate Degree of Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Colombo in 1984 whilst being in the Attorney General's Department. On 8-9-1988, Your Lordship was promoted as Senior State Counsel.

Justice Amaratunga had the rare distinction of obtaining a second Post Graduate degree of 'Master of Laws' from the 'International Maritime Law Institute' in Malta, in 1990. On 6.1.1994; and was appointed a judge of the High Court. From the 17th of December to March 1996; Your Lordship served as a Commissioner in 2 Special Presidential Commissions.

Served as a High Court Judge in Ampara, Colombo, Badulla, Kegalle and Kurunegala; and was soon recognized as one of the fair and able judges of the High Court of Sri Lanka.

In recognition of Justice Amaratunga's ability, competence and seniority, Your Lordship was appointed by Her Excellency the President as a judge of the Court of Appeal on 28-1-2001. Since January 2001, and has acted as a judge of the Court of Appeal, until, appointed a judge of this court in January 2005.

As a judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice Amaratunga has written numerous judgements of importance of all branches of the law. Clarity of thought, and in-depth study of the law and facts are significant features in judgements.

Judicial creativity is also seen in them, and fine judicial temperament, sharp mind, wonderful memory, firmness with which Your Lordship conducted proceedings in the Court of Appeal when such firmness was called for, are qualities greatly admired by the Bar.

The courtesy extended to the members of the Bar, both junior and senior alike and the recognition of the right of pre-audience of Silks, are also qualities greatly appreciated by us, well known as a judge who administers justice without any fear or favour irrespective of personalities involved.

These qualities have made Justice Amaratunga one of the finest and loveable judges of this country and the Bar is indeed pleased to have as a judge of the apex court of our country.

"I sincerely congratulate appointment to this court, and assure our fullest co-operation and support in the discharge of judicial functions in this court. I wish Your Lordship good health and long life," BASL President said.

Justice Saleem Marsoof PC after a brilliant secondary education at Zahira College, Colombo and Royal College, Colombo Your Lordship entered the University of Ceylon in 1968, and excelled as a brilliant under graduate student, obtained the Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from the University of Colombo in 1971 and was admitted to the Bar after passing the Final Examination held in October 1973 for the Admission of Advocates conducted by the Sri Lanka Law Collage.

On the 20-9-1975 Your Lordship joined the Attorney General's Department as an Acting State Counsel and was confirmed as a State Counsel on 1-5-1976, and was promoted as Senior State Counsel on 17-10-1983 and thereafter elevated to the post of Deputy Solicitor General on 21-10-1993.

Your Lordship was appointed to the Post of Additional Solicitor General in March 1998, and functioned as the Senior most Additional Solicitor General in-charge of the Civil Division of the Attorney General's Department at the time joined the judiciary as the President of the Court of Appeal.

As an Additional Solicitor General, and was appointed a President's Counsel and served the Attorney General's Department for a continuous period of nearly 30 years.

Your Lordship acquired a reputation as a fair and extremely successful counsel in the Attorney General's Department, and was the senior counsel for the State in numerous Land Mark cases which are far too many for me to refer today, most of which are reported in the Law Reports.

Whilst at the Attorney General's Department Justice Marsoof was conferred the Master of Laws Degree (LL.M) by the University of Colombo in 1984, and a further Masters Degree in Law by the University of San Diego, California U.S.A. in International Trade Law in the year 1990.

Justice Marsoof has been the recipient of several fellowships which has helped to acquire valuable insights into the workings of the law. In 1997 had the rare privilege of being invited by Jesus College University of Cambridge to address the 14th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, and also had the rare distinction of being re invited to address the 20th Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime held in September 2002 on the topic "Civil Enforcement".

In recognition of Your Lordship's services to legal education to the South Asia Region, and was invited to make the Key Note Address at the Inaugural Session of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association South Asia Regional Student Conference in December 2002 in Kerala, India.

Justice Marsoof has been a popular Lecturer and examiner at the Sri Lanka Law College, Open University, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and a lecturer in International Law at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies.

Justice Marsoof is one of the most sought after speakers today, contribution to the development and advancement of the Law was also recently recognised by the award of an Honorary Fellowship by the Society of Advance Legal Studies, London which is another rare distinction bestowed on any Sri Lankan, and also authored numerous legal literature of our country which take the form of Books, Book Chapters and Articles in numerous local and International Journals.

Justice Marsoof has the rare distinction of being appointed the President of the Court of Appeal directly from the Attorney General's Department on 31-3-2004, being the then Additional Solicitor General.

As the President of the Court of Appeal displayed the highest qualities of a true judge. Your Lordship treated both counsel and litigants with respect and dignity, and displayed an excellent judicial temperament in the discharge of duties as the President of the Court of Appeal; and within a short period of becoming a judge, has won the love and confidence of counsel, senior and junior and litigants alike and has acted with great responsibility as the President of the Court of Appeal. Some judgements are landmark judgements that have developed the law.

Justice Marsoof is an academic, a scholar, and eminent counsel and a respected judge honesty and integrity, unruffled judicial temperament, combined with the vast experience and the wealth of knowledge, would no doubt make Your Lordship one of the greatest justices of this country.

"I, on behalf of the Bar, very sincerely congratulate appointment as a justice of this Court; and I assure that the Bar will extend its fullest co-operation and support to Your Lordship in the Discharge of Duties as a justice of this Court.

"May almighty Allah Bless Your Lordship with good health and long life".

The Bar congratulates and rejoices in the appointment of Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice Saleem Marsoof to the apex court of our country".

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