Dr Shirani Bandaranayake new Chief Justice
Senior Supreme Court Judge and one time Dean of the Faculty of Law,
Colombo University, Dr Shirani Bandaranayake was sworn in before
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday as the country’s first female
Chief Justice. The swearing in took place at Temple Trees yesterday. Dr
Bandaranayake was the youngest woman judge to be appointed to the
Supreme Court. She was appointed Judge of Supreme Court on October 30,
Dr Shirani Bandaranayake took oaths
before President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the first female Chief
Justice of Sri Lanka. Secretary to the President Lalith
Weeratunga was also present. Picture by Sudath Silva
She is a member of the Judicial Services Commission and deputy
chairperson of the Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society.
Dr Bandaranayake as the most senior judge of the Supreme Court has
written a number of judgements of great significance. She has delivered
several dissenting judgements which received plaudits from the public
and the legal fraternity.
Dr Bandaranayake obtained her Degree of Bachelor of Laws with second
class honours in the upper division becoming first in the order of merit
in 1980 from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo.
She has served as the acting Chief Justice 11 times.
The new Chief Justice was awarded the Degree of Master of Philosophy
from the University of Colombo in 1983 and the same year she was
enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
In 1986, she obtained the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the
University of London, becoming the first woman in Sri Lanka to obtain a
PhD in Law from a foreign university. Dr. Bandaranayake is a recipient
of several scholarships and awards. She was awarded the Commonwealth
Open Scholarship in 1983, the Chevening Scholarship in 1989,
Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in 1996 and the British Council Assert Award
in 1993 and 1994.
The Zonta Club awarded the Woman of Achievement Award in the field of
Law to Dr Bandaranayake in 1998 and the District 306C of the
International Lions Club conferred an award on her in 2004. The
Independent Television Network had conferred an award on Dr
Bandaranayake on account of International Women’s Day in March 2007.
Dr Bandaranayake has written several articles and monographs and has
presented several papers in the field of public law.
Dr Shirani Bandaranayake with her
husband Pradeep Kariyawasam and son, Shaveen Bandaranayake
Dr Bandaranayake commenced her career as a visiting lecturer attached
to the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo in 1981 and after holding
the positions of assistant lecturer and senior lecturer, became the Head
of the Department of Law in 1987.
After serving several stints as the acting Dean of the Faculty of
Law, she became the Dean of the Faculty in 1992.
Dr Bandaranayake has also held the position of acting Vice Chancellor
of the University of Colombo on several occasions. She became an
Associate Professor of Law on merit in 1993.
Dr Bandaranayake has served as a member of several committees of the
University of Colombo and other universities and has also functioned as
a member of the Human Rights Task Force, the Council of Legal Education
and the Law Commission of Sri Lanka.
After serving the University of Colombo for over 16 years, Dr
Bandaranayake was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court in October
1996, at a time when she was functioning as the Associate Professor of
Law and the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo. Dr
Bandaranayake is married to Pradeep Kariyawasam and has one son, Shaveen