Profiles of New President's Counsel
COLOMBO:Entering the legal profession in 1972, Hemantha
Warnakulasuriya now counts a legal career spanning over 34 years. At
Royal College he launched a handwritten newspaper titled Hela Bima and
together with his friend Indika Gunawardena he wore the National costume
With the premature death of his father W. P. Arnolis Appu from
Tangalle, Hemantha had to cut short his schooling to manage one of the
biggest transport fleets in Sri Lanka. He was elected President of All
Ceylon Lorry Owners Association at the age of 19. He then got involved
in Arts and became a founder member of the Ape kattiya, a group headed
by the versatile dramatist Sugathapala de Silva.
This group produced several plays such as Thattu Geval and Harima
He then tried his hand at producing films. His attempt to produce the
first Sinhala musical titled Samanlayo which ended in failure. But, as
the saying goes, failures are the pillars of success, through this
failure he introduced to the film industry several leading lights such
as Sugathapala de Silva' the script writer cum co-director and D. B.
Nihal Singhe as co-director cum cinematographer.
Hemantha together with Professor Douglas Amerasekere, turned to
writing on very controversial and topical matters. They wrote critiques
on Maname, population explosion, 'romanisation of the sinhala alphabet',
'colloquial Sinhala' and poverty alleviation.
He contributed regularly to English newspapers on art, culture, and
cricket and on comparative religion or rationalism.
At Law College Hemantha pioneered a students' forum called 'New
Trends Forum'. Hemantha with his friend late Suranjith Hewamanne
produced a Sinhala play titled 'Atakayai Natakayai'. Which was funded by
the Forum and the Law Students' Union. He set up Law Students Trust to
help needy students.
Hemantha became the Secretary of the New Courts Law Chambers. Which
was later called the 'Colombo Magistrate's Court Lawyers Association'.
From the time of enrolling in 1972 he took an active role in the affairs
of the Bar Association.
He was appointed convener of the 'Professional Affairs Committee',
which drafted the "Code of Conduct and Etiquette for Attorneys-at-Law'.
The then Secretary, W. P. Gunatillake, paid a glowing tribute to him
and the committee, as the only committee which met regularly and
completed its mandate.
As the Assistant Secretary of Bar Association, he was successful in
rallying lawyers to protest against the killing of Wijayadasa
Liyanaarchchi. In 1989 he was elected the Secretary of the Bar
His innovative projects, which were inaugurated during his tenure of
office, still hold an important place in the calendar of the Bar
Association. They are, Continuing Legal Education Programme, Monthly
Newsletter, National Law Conference and Neethi Ranga.
His project to help apprentice law students to work as clerks for
judges, which enabled them to earn an allowance, and the quarterly Law
Gazette, were abandoned by the Bar for lack of funds.
He was the chairman of the Legal Aid Commission for nearly ten years
and was instrumental in obtaining funds from donors and decentralising
the functions of the commission by having branches in the outstations.
He was thereafter elected Deputy President of Bar Association. He
recommenced a programme, titled 'nithi neethi ugenuma' to conduct a
continuing legal education programme in Sinhala throughout the island
with the assistance of World Bank.
It has become an important event of the Bar Association. As the
Chairman of the Legal Aid Foundation, he negotiated with the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to institute Legal Aid Foundation
Units in every branch. He obtained funding, to the equivalent of nearly
32 million rupees and established nearly 13 branches.
If the project continued as planned, every single branch would have
had a unit with computers and all other equipment necessary to run a
Legal Aid Office.
As one of the leading criminal lawyers in the country, he has
appeared virtually for every important case, either for the accused or
for the prosecution, if the case had been instituted in the Magistrate's
Court of Colombo.
On the July 7 he will be invested with 'Silk' at a ceremonial sitting
of the Supreme Court.
COLOMBO: Razik Zarook Lawyer, Diplomat and former Chairman of a
number of Public Corporations is a Senior Attorney who was enroled to
the Bar in 1969.
He started his practice in Matara in 1969 and within a short period
established himself as much sought after and versatile lawyer
particularly in the Southern Provincial Courts. Today he enjoys a wide
practice both in Colombo and the outstations.
Zarook is extremely proficient in all three languages and at Law
College had the unique distinction of leading the Sinhala debating team
whilst also a member of the English debating team. He won the S. W. R.
D. Bandaranaike Gold Medal for impromptu English oratory.
His management career came into the limelight when he was appointed
Chairman of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) by the then
Trade and Shipping Minister late Lalith Athulathmudali PC. He was given
the responsibility in turning around the CWE to become an efficient and
viable much sought after consumer organisation responsible for the wide
distribution of essential commodities without any artificial scarcities
even during turbulent times.
Under his tenure, the CWE was a model profitable and viable
organisation having diversified and acquired many assets developing real
estates and establishing a number of public quoted companies such as
Sathosa Motors Limited, Sathosa Printers Limited and Lanka Milk Foods
Limited of which he was founder Chairman.
He also held office as Chairman of the Agricultural Development
Authority and National Aquatic Research and Development Authority
(NARA). The late President Premadasa appointed him as Ambassador to the
then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and thereafter as the first
Ambassador to Hungary.
Subsequently he was appointed as Singaporean High Commissioner. Apart
from his professional education at the Sri Lanka Law College, Zarook is
also an Alumni of the Indian Institute of Management Ahamedabad.
He is also the Past President and Honorary Member of the Sri Lanka
Institute of Packaging, a Fellow and Past Senior Vice President of the
Institute of Management of Sri Lanka and Past Director General of the
National Management Conference.
He has participated and presented numerous papers on International
Trade and Shipping at a number of international fora.
He is an old boy of St. Servatius, College, Matara and Zahira,
COLOMBO: Palitha Kumarasinghe enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the
Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on September 27, 1982. He had his primary and
secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle. He entered to Sri Lanka
Law College in 1979.
Having devilled in the chambers of Romesh de Silva, PC Kumarasinghe
is in active practice in the Colombo District Court, commercial High
Court of the Western Province and the Superior Courts. He has an
extensive commercial law practice and is the counsel for a large number
of State and Private Banks, Merchant Banks and Finance Houses.
He is a regular counsel for Hatton National Bank, Seylan Bank,
Sampath Bank, Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka, Srilankan Airlines, Sri Lanka
Rupavahini Corporation, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, several
Regional Plantation companies.
Kumarasinghe is the Lecturer in Banking Law and Practice for
Apprentice Law Students and also, lectured in Special Apprentice Course
conducted by the Sri Lanka Law College. He was also a speaker in Banking
Law Session of National Law Conference - 2003 and Continuing Legal
Education Programme sponsored by LJRP/World Bank for practising Lawyers.
Kumarasinghe presented a paper on "Legal Issues in the aftermath of
the tsunami in Sri Lanka". He also presented papers in various
Commercial Law Topics in Law Conferences, seminars and legal
publications in Sri Lanka. He has trained a large number of junior
Kumarasinghe was a vice president of Bar Association of Sri Lanka and
the President of the Colombo Law Society a Lawyers Association with
1,300 lawyers practising in Colombo, in 2003/04 and 2004/05.
He is a Member of Bar Council for the last 16 years and was the
Chairman of the Organising Committee for National Law Conference - 2004.
He was actively involved in "Flood Relief-2003" and "Tsunami Relief"
campaigns of the Bar Association. For several years, he has been a
member of the Executive committee of the Colombo Law Library where His
Lordship the Chief Justice is the President.
Kumarasinghe was a Member of Advisory Commission on Intellectual
Property established under the Code of Intellectual Property Act and the
Intellectual Property Act. During his tenure as a Member, the commission
modernised and upgraded the Intellectual Property Law of the Country and
presented the present Intellectual Property Act to the Parliament. He is
also a Member of Working committee to solve problems of laws delay
appointed by Justice and Judicial Reforms Ministry.
Kumarasinghe is presently serving as a Member of the Public Service
Commission. He was appointed a President's Counsel by the President, on
May 26, 2006.
Kumarasinghe is a distinguished old boy of Mahinda College, Galle.
The Old Boys' Association of Mahinda College appreciated his services to
Alma Mater at the Annual General Meeting held in March 2006.
Denzil Jayalath Gunaratne
COLOMBO: Denzil Jayalath Gunaratne was educated at St. Thomas'
Collage, Mt. Lavinia. Having joined Sri Lanka Law College in 1970, he
took his oaths as an advocate of the Supreme Court in July 1973.
He did his apprenticeship with late Eardley Perera PC and Daya Perera
PC. In 1975 he joined the Attorney Generals' Department as a State
Counsel. He served in that capacity in many parts of the island and
reverted to the unofficial Bar after a few years.
In 1979, he joined the Judicial Service as a Magistrate and served in
Kebithigollewa, Matara and Kegalle.
He left the judiciary in 1984 and practised almost exclusively on the
He was appointed the Chairman of the Employees' Trust Fund Board by
the President who was then the Labour Minister.
Having resigned from both the ETF and Dankotuwa Porcelain Limited, he
continues to practise at the Sri Lankan Bar.
COLOMBO: Dr. Harsha Cabral had his primary education at St. Thomas'
College, Kotte, St. Benedicts' College, Kotahena, Dehiwala Central
College, and secondary education at Royal College, Colombo. He had his
tertiary education at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka Law College
and the University of Canberra, Australia.
At Royal College he was an active member of the Sinhala Literary
Association, the Geography Society and the Economics Society and won the
Form Prize in 1975.
He commenced his studies in law as an external student at the
University of Colombo passing his first in laws in 1983. He also passed
the Executive Diploma in Business Administration at the University of
Colombo with a first Class Honours, topping the batch and bagging the
Asokan Anandarajan Gold Medal for the Best Performance and the
Kundanmals Gold Medal for Business Administration.
He joined the Sri Lanka law College in 1985 and having successfully
completing the Attorney-at-Law finals in 1987 joined the profession
immediately thereafter. He obtained a first Class at the second year
examination at the Law College.
He apprenticed in the Chambers of Dr. H.W. Jaywardene QC and worked
in the said Chambers as a junior counsel till the demise of Dr.
Jayawardene in 1990. He then joined the chambers of K. Kanag-Isvaran PC
and worked as a junior counsel for almost a decade in the said chambers
specializing in the fields of Company Law and Intellectual Property Law.
In 1999 he obtained a PhD in Corporate Law from Australia. His
doctoral thesis was on shareholder remedies in Company Law which dealt
with the company law in Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand and Sri
Dr. Cabral commands one of the biggest practices in Intellectual
Property Law in Sri Lanka. The very first case on 'software piracy' in
Sri Lanka and the very first case on 'trade secrets and undisclosed
information' in Sri Lanka were handled by Dr. Cabral.
Dr. Cabral is a lecturer and examiner in Business Law at the Colombo
University for the LLB programme, a lecturer and examiner in
Intellectual Property Law at the Sri Lanka Law College for the post
Attorneys and pre attorneys, a lecturer and examiner in International
Trade Law and a member of the Faculty Board, University of Wales, UK for
the LLM programme, a lecturer and examiner in Commercial Arbitration at
the Institute for Commercial Law and Practice (ICLP) and a former
lecturer in Company Law and Commercial Law at the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Sri Lanka.
He is a regular speaker at public seminars on Corporate Law,
Intellectual Property Law, Commercial Law and Commercial Arbitration in
Sri Lanka and abroad.
He is currently a commissioner of the Law Commission of Sri Lanka,
Member of the Advisory Commission on Company Law in Sri Lanka, and a
member of the National Council for Economic Development (NCED) - Legal
He is the General Secretary of the Business recovery and Insolvency
Practitioners' Association of Sri Lanka (BRIPASL), a Member of the
Corporate Governance Committee, a member of the Subject Review Committee
on Intellectual Property, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo,
Consultant, Sri Lanka Law College Law Journal and a Member of the Sri
Lanka Law College, Syllabus Review Committee. He is currently assigned
to advise the Government of the Maldives on implementation of
legislation and application of Commercial Arbitration.
Dr. Cabral has been the Chairman of the Junior Bar of the Bar
Association of Sri Lanka in 2003/2004 and has chaired and organised
several key projects of the Bar Association. He is the convener of the
National Law Conference to be held in November 2006.
He has been an active Committee Member of the Colombo Law Library, a
Member of the Court of Appeal Management Committee and Committee
appointed to expedite commercial litigation in Sri Lanka.
He has been chairman of the sub committee on Company Law Reform in
the Company Law Advisory Commission in 2004 and a Member of the Patent
Committee of the National Science Foundation Dr. Cabral has also been an
active member of the Colombo Jaycees.