Legal aid Commission
Drafting of Legislation to be passed by Parliament
Preparation of subsidiary legislation:
This Circular is issued by the Secretary to the President on the
Drafting of the legislation to be passed by Parliament and the
preparation of subsidiary legislation. The content of the circular is
shown below for the information of the public.
(A) Procedural Steps for Drafting Legislation:
1. A request to the Legal Draftsman for the preparation of a Bill by
the Secretary to the relevant Ministry should be in writing and
accompanied by the following documents:-
(a) The Cabinet Memorandum, which sets out the policy on which the
proposed Bill is to be based and which seeks the approval of the Cabinet
of Ministers for the drafting of such Bill;
(b) The Cabinet Decision relating to such Memorandum;
National Languages and Social Integration Ministry Secretary
Malkanthi Wickremasinghe inaugurating the Certificate Course
of Para Legal Studies conducted by the Legal Aid Commission
in collaboration with the National Languages and Social
Integration Ministry at the Law College auditorium. Senior
LAC Consultant Justice N. Udalagama and LAC Legal Officer
Lilanthi Kumari were also present. Picture by W. Chandradasa
(c) Other relevant documents containing the background information,
which would facilitate the drafting of the Bill.
2. The Legal Draftsman would thereupon prepare a preliminary draft
Bill of the proposed legislation (in English) and this draft Bill would
be forwarded to the requesting Ministry for its observations.
3. The relevant Ministry should not prolong the process of
finalization of legislation and should refrain as much as possible from
introducing new material to a draft, if such inclusion would tend to
delay the finalization of the draft.
4. Upon final confirmation from the requesting Ministry that the
preliminary draft Bill is in conformity with the policy decided on by
the Cabinet of Ministers, the Legal Draftsman will send out to the
requesting Ministry the final draft of the Bill, along with a copy
thereof to the Attorney-General.
5. The Attorney-General will thereupon, in pursuance of the
provisions of Article 77 of the Constitution, make observations on the
constitutionality of the draft Bill. Where the provisions of the draft
Bill, in his opinion,
(a) do not contravene the provisions of the Constitution, the
Attorney-General would issue a Certificate to that effect to the
requesting Ministry with a copy to the Legal Draftsman; or
(b) contravenes any provision of the Constitution, the
Attorney-General would make his observations accordingly, to the
respective Ministry with a copy to the Legal Draftsman and suggest
amendments to the draft Bill. Upon such amendments being made to the
draft Bill, the Attorney-General would forward a fresh Certificate to
the effect that the provisions do not contravene any provision of the
6. Upon receipt of the Certificate from the Attorney-General, the
Legal Draftsman will then forward the Sinhala and Tamil drafts of the
Bill to the requesting Ministry. In the case of amending legislation, a
Statement of Legal Effect in all three languages will also be forwarded
to the Ministry at this stage.
7. The requesting Ministry will then submit the draft Bill to the
Cabinet of Ministers and seek approval to have the draft Bill published
in Part II of the Gazette and to present it in Parliament. If, at this
stage, the Cabinet of Ministers decides that further amendments need to
be made to the draft Bill, then the Ministry should forward the relevant
Cabinet Decision along with the copies of the draft in all three
languages and the statement of legal effect, if any, to the Legal
Draftsman to effect amendments.
8. If the situation envisaged in paragraph 7 arises, then the
procedure set out in paragraphs 4,5 and 6 shall be followed again.
9.Once the Cabinet of Ministers approves the publication of the Bill
in the Government Gazette, the Ministry shall forward the draft in all
the three languages to the Government Printer. The draft is first
published as a Supplement to the Government Gazette, and when printed in
all three languages the proofs will be sent to the Legal Draftsman by
the Printer for final proof reading and approval.
10. The Draft Bill once published in Gazette shall in terms of the
Constitution, be presented in Parliament only after the expiry of seven
days from the date of publication. After the presentation (first
reading) Parliament directs the Secretary-General of Parliament to print
it in the form of a Bill and a number is given. Only a change in the
appearance of the cover page takes place and no change is made to the
substance of the draft.
11. Once a Bill is presented in Parliament, it is placed on the Order
Paper and a date for the Second Reading debate (on a day not earlier
than a week from the day it was presented) is fixed. It is at the
Committee Stage of the Bill, which takes place after the Second Reading
that any changes arising in connection with the matters being debated,
may be made by way of Committee Stage Amendments. No new matter outside
of the policy initially approved by the Cabinet of Ministers may be
included by way of Committee Stage Amendments.
(B) Urgent Bills (Article 122) of the Constitution)
Any Cabinet Decision for a draft Bill, which is to be passed as an
urgent Bill shall be sent to the Legal Draftsman with the documents set
out in paragraph (A)1. However, in such cases the Cabinet Decision shall
state that the Cabinet has directed the Bill to be enacted as an Urgent
Requests for a Bill, which is to be enacted as an urgent Bill should
conform to the procedures set out in paragraph A 1, 2, and 3 above.
However, obtaining the Attorney-Generalís Certificate is not a
necessity, as the Attorney-General will appear and defend the Bill in
the Supreme Court when it is referred to the Court by the President in
terms of the urgent bill procedure.
The requesting Ministry will, upon receiving the final draft Bill (in
English) from the Legal Draftsman with an Endorsement at the end
thereof, which states that the Bill is certified as urgent in the
national interest, under Article 122 of the Constitution, submit the
Bill to the Cabinet of Ministers for its approval.
If, at this stage, the Cabinet of Ministers decides that further
amendments need to be made to the draft Bill, then the Ministry shall
forward the relevant cabinet Decision to the Legal Draftsman to give
effect to it.
The Sinhala and Tamil drafts will be released to the requesting
Ministry at this stage, by the Legal Draftsman.
The requesting Ministry will then submit the draft Bill with the
endorsement duly signed by the Secretary to the Cabinet to the President
for it to be referred to the Supreme Court. (Urgent Bills are not
published in the Gazette, and the Bill is printed only upon receipt of
the determination of the Court).
The Supreme Court, after considering the Bill, shall make its
determination within twenty four hours (or such longer period not
exceeding three days as the President may specify) and communicate its
determination only to the President and the Speaker.
After the announcement of such determination to the House by the
Speaker, Parliament will cause the draft to be printed as a Bill and
make it available only after the presentation of the Bill in Parliament.
(No proofs of the Bill are available for correction)
(C) Amendments to be moved at the Committee Stage of a Bill
(Applicable to both ordinary Bills and Urgent Bills)
If amendments are proposed to the Bill at any time before the Bill is
taken up for Debate by Parliament, the requesting Ministry will request
the Legal draftsman to draft the necessary amendment in the form of a
Committee Stage Amendments which are to be moved at the Committee Stage
of the Bill. Once these amendments are prepared by the Legal draftsman
in all three languages, copies will be sent to the Attorney-General and
the Secretary-General of Parliament at least a day before the Bill is
fixed for the Second Reading.
It should be noted that since the policy of the legislation has
already been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, no changes in the
policy of legislation or any substantial change in any of its provisions
should be introduced by way of Committee Stage Amendments: the only
exception being where it is an imperative measure which is sought to be
introduced and the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been
If at any time during the Debate on the Bill, the requesting Ministry
agrees to making of certain amendments to the draft Bill, then they must
communicate this to the officer of the Legal Draftsmanís Department who
is present in Parliament during the Debate. Such Amendments will be
prepared by such officer before the Committee Stage of the Bill and
given to the officials of the Ministry and to the Secretary-General of
The amendments must be given to the relevant Minister so that he can
move the Committee Stage Amendments at the Committee Stage of the Bill.
No amendment which seeks to introduce any matter which may be
unconstitutional should be sought to be introduced at this Stage. The
officers of the Legal Draftsmanís Department and the Attorney-Generalís
Department will give the necessary advice on this matter.
If there are Amendments moved at the Committee Stage of a Bill, then
the officer from the Attorney-Generalís Department who is present in
Parliament will issue a Certificate on the Constitutionality of the Bill
to the Secretary-General of Parliament.
(D) Subsidiary Legislation (Regulations, Rules, Orders, By-laws and
other Notifications or Proclamations having the effect of law.
Subsidiary legislation is required to be drafted by the line-Ministry
and sent to the Legal Draftsman for revision. It must be sent in
duplicate, in all three languages. (Establishments Code)
Draft subsidiary legislation would be revised and sent back to the
relevant Ministry by the Legal draftsman. If it includes Schedules the
responsibility for the accuracy of the technical or other information
peculiar to the subject would remain with the Ministry concerned. If the
draft subsidiary legislation sent to the Legal Draftsmanís Department is
substantially inadequate and cannot be used as a base, then the
necessary subsidiary legislation will be drafted afresh by the Legal
Draftsmanís Department and translated and sent out in all three
languages to the requesting Ministry. Subsidiary legislation once signed
by the person authorized to make them, (After the 1978 Constitution,
only the Minister is empowered to make regulations), must be published
in the Gazette. Subsidiary legislation takes effect upon Gazetting.
However, they must be placed before Parliament as soon as is convenient
thereafter. If the gazetted Subsidiary Legislation does not receive the
approval of Parliament then it is deemed to be rescinded as from such
date, without prejudice to anything done thereunder.
[Questions and Answers]
Question: I am 63 year old who is being neglected by my
children. Can I get protection under the Protection of Elders Act No.9
Answer: Under the Protection of Elders Act No.9 of 2000, you
can get protection. Under the said Act you can file a case against the
children to get maintenance from them through the Maintenance Board. The
Maintenance Board will inform the children to pay maintenance to the
parents. If they are not willing to pay maintenance, the Magistrate's
Court can enforce the order.
The Legal Aid Commission has set up an Elders' Desk which handles
cases of this nature. Further under the Domestic Violence Act No. 34 of
2005 you can seek a protection order against them.
If you need any advice, you can visit our Head Office situated at
No.129, Hulftsdorp Street, High Court Complex, Colombo 12.
Obtaining lost Identify Card
Question: My servant has lost her Identity Card. She has a
photocopy of the same. She has been staying with us for over six years.
Please let me know how I can get a new Identity Card for my servant?
Answer: If you want to obtain a new Identity Card for your
servant, you have to first make a complaint to the police station and
get the certified copy of that complaint.
Thereafter, you have to meet your Grama Niladari and get an
Application Form and have the form duly completed. After preparing all
the documents you have to submit five identity card size (coloured
photographs) and the photo copy of the identity card. It is necessary to
submit the original Birth Certificate to get the new identity card
because the date of birth is necessary. Since your servant has lost her
Birth Certificate you have to submit an affidavit to prove the date of
birth of your servant.
The Registrar of Person has ĎOne Day Serviceí to issue Identity Card
on a fee of Rs.500. Other wise you can get your servantís Identity Card
from the Grama Sevaka through the normal procedure which will take at
least one month. If you need any assistance you can visit our Head
Office at No.129, Hulftsdorp Street, High Court Complex, Colombo 12.
Licence of foreign employment agency
Question: My friend and I decide to start a foreign employment
agency in Sri Lanka. Please let me know how can I obtain a foreign
employment agency license to our proposed office. Please let me know the
Answer: After fulfilling the following requirements, you can
start a foreign employment agency in Sri Lanka.
To obtain a foreign employment agency licence, you should have an
* Is situated in an easily accessible place where public transport is
* Have a floor area of at least 500 square feet.
* Have telephones with IDD facilities, fax, computers, databases, type
writers, photocopiers & trade testing facilities.
You can then apply for the license by submitting the following
* Business Registration Certificate or certified copy of Form 48
& Articles and Memorandums (If registered under the companies act)
* Layout plan of the office and the lease agreement or deed of the
* Affidavits regarding citizenship of the partners of the business /
* Two recent testimonials in support of the character and
reputability of the person who is in charge of the foreign employment
agency. One of these should be from the local Gramasevaka Niladhari of
the area where he resides confirming that the person who is applying for
the license has been living in that area.
* A bank guarantee of a commercial bank issued on behalf of you or
your agency.`* You should also furnish the following documents of
yourself and the other partners or Directors of the agency:
- Birth Certificate(s)
- Personal bio-data(s)
- Photocopies of their National Identity Card(s) or Passport
- Police clearance reports from the nearest police station
- A passport sized photograph of the officer in charge of the agency
After the above documents have been submitted, a team from the SLBFE
would visit and inspect the premises and check the authenticity of the
documents before granting them the approval for the license.
The license which you have obtained would be valid only for a period
of one year from the date of issue.
Renewing a licence
Question: I have a job agency in Akuressa . Please let me know
how I renew the agency licence?
Answer: You can renew your agency license by submitting the
completed application form available at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign
You must remember to submit the renewal application 30 days before
the license expires and the SLBFE would then evaluate your past
performances, inspect your office, equipment, records and grant approval
for the renewal of the licence.
If you wish to shift your recruiting agency to a new location, you
should obtain the approval of the License Division of the SLBFE by
submitting and application along with the following documents:
* Location of the new office
* Proof of legal occupancy of such premises
* Revised business registration certificate with the details of the new
Question: My sister is living in France . Is it possible for
me to obtain a certified translations of her birth and marriage
certificate. Can I do it my self on behalf of my Sister?
Answer: Yes it is possible. Please visit the Registrar
General's Department Head Office at Battaramulla with the original birth
and marriage certificates of your brother and they will help you. Fee
for an English translated certificate is Rs.100
Elders' Maintenance Board
Question: Please let me know the details of the Maintenance
board Under the Elders act No 09 of 2000
Answer: The Elders Maintenance Board is situated at No.150A,
LHP, Building, Nawala Road, Nugegoda. The Maintenance Board meets on
The parentís complaints against their children will be heard by this
Board. If the parents send a complaint to this Board, the Board will
send letters to the children to be present at the Maintenance Board for
inquiry. At the inquiry, the Board will try to resolve the matter. The
Elders Maintenance Board has the power to order to pay the certain
amount of money to the parents. If the children do not obey with the
order of the Maintenance Board, then the parents can enforce the said
order via Magistrate proceedings. If you need further clarification you
can contact the Maintenance Board (Tel No. 2824082)
Company records under the Company's Act No.7 of 2007
Question: We have a Company owned by our family. Under the new
Companies Act No.7 of 2007, kindly let us know the procedure that we
have to apply with regard to company records and what do you mean by
company records ?
Answer: Under the Companies Act No. 07 of 2007, a company must
keep its records at the Registered Office. of the company. Company
records include the -
The certificate of incorporation, the articles,minutes of meetings
Resolution of shareholders, directors committee held or passed with
in the previous ten years, interest register certificates given by the
directors in terms of the requirement of the act within past ten years
Register of directors
Copies of written communication to shareholders during the previous
ten years, including annual reports copies of the all financial
statements for the last ten completed accounting periods
Copies of all instrument creating or evidencing charges and the
registrar of the charges and the share register and accounting records
required by the section 148 of the act for the current accounting period
and the last ten accounting periods of the company
The ten year requirement for the maintenance of records may be
reduced by the Registra where he considers it necessary and appropriate
You must give notice to the Registrar if these records are to be kept
in any place other than the Registered Office. Further the accounting
records may be kept in a place other than the Registered Office provided
that the formalitie of section 149 of the Act are complied with.
All Company records must be kept in written form or in a manner that
can be easily accessed and converted in to written form . It is also
necessary that the company should take measures to prevent falsification
and direct falsification of records.
Police Clearance Certificate
Question: I am a citizen of Sri Lanka. I olan to apply for a
citizenship certificate. How can I get a Police certificate.
Answer: The application form received form Police headquarters
should be perfected properly and handed over at the counter.
Foreign applicants could down load the Application form from the web
site, perfect same and hand it over to the Sri Lanka High Commission of
Foreign applicants could also submit their down loaded and correctly
perfected applications individually, direct to the Inspector-General of
Police, Police Headquarters, Colombo 1.
Applicants handing over their applications at police Headquarters
should pay a sum of Rs. 500 and obtain a receipt for same.
Foreign applicants should pay a sum equivalent to Sri Lanka Rs. 1000
at the Sri Lankan High Commission in their country and obtain a receipt
Foreign applicants submitting their application individually direct
to Inspector General of Police should send a draft or Cheque equivalent
to the sum of Sri Lanka Rs. 1,000 to A/C No. 007041413 payable at
Taprobane Branch, Bank of Ceylon, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka. The Police
Clearance Certificate would be sent direct to the applicant
Foreign applicants could sent an application through Sri Lankan High
Commission should pay a sum equivalent to Sri Lankan Rs. 1,000 at the
Sri Lankan High Commission in their country and obtain a receipt for
same. The Police Clearance Certificate would be sent to the same High
Incase there being no Sri Lanka Embassy/High Commission, fill up the
application and send with a remittance to the equivalent of Rs.1,000 in
respect of each application.
The remittance should be drawn in favour of the Inspector General of
Police, Sri Lanka. The application(s) and the remittance should be sent
under registered post to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Police
Headquarters, Colombo - 1, Sri Lanka.
The application should be perfected.
The applicant should write his/her address, periods and the Police
area. During the period he/she lived in Sri Lanka correctly.
The under mentioned documents are collected by the Police
Headquarters to compile the Clearance Certificate. The applicant need
not to concern about this. Once all the documents are received the
certificate could be issued.
Reports from the Officer in Charge of the Police Station. (Relevant
Police Stations) Criminal Investigation reports.