• Parliament of Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Sri Lanka
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The Secretariat of the Constitutional Assembly

T

he Constitutional Assembly Secretariat (CAS) is the administrative arm of the constitutional process established by the Steering Committee. The CAS is set up within the Parliamentary Secretariat.
 
The office of the CAS functions under the direction of the Additional Secretary to the Constitutional Assembly appointed in terms of clause 4(a) of the Framework Resolution and has its own staff, research and media units.

Naufel Abdul-Rahman

Designation - Secretary to the Leader of the House of Parliament

Qualifications - Bachelor of Law (Colombo), Dip. In Business Administration (Colombo), Fellow of the British Institute of Management (England)

Experience - Advocate of the Supreme Court of Ceylon

Ms.Yuresha Fernando

Ms.Yuresha Fernando

Yuresha Fernando is a Senior State Counsel (SSC) of the Attorney General’s Department handling mainly administrative and constitutional law matters and has 14 years of experience as an Attorney-at-Law. She was a member of the team of Counsel appointed by the Attorney General to examine the draft 19th amendment Bill and to appear before the Supreme Court during the determination proceedings. She possesses a Masters of Laws (LLM) from the University College London (UCL) in Public International and Comparative Constitutional Law. She graduated from the University of Colombo with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Political Science, International Relations and English. She is a Chevening scholar (awarded by the Government of UK - 2006/07), a Legislative Fellow (awarded by the State Department of the US - 2012) and adjudged as an “Asia 21 Young Leader” (Asia Society - Class of 2013). She has received professional and academic training at the Xiamen Academy of International Law (Xiamen, China); The International Development Law Organization - IDLO (Rome, Italy); and at the National University of Singapore (Singapore).

, Senior State Counsel was appointed (on release from the Attorney General’s Department), as the Additional Secretary to the Constitutional Assembly at its second sitting on 5th May 2016.
 
The CAS functions as a link between the Committees of the Constitutional Assembly, i.e. the Steering Committee and the Sub-Committee and administratively supports the process.
 
One of the main tasks of the CAS is to assist in planning and organizing regular sittings of the Steering Committee. This includes the coordination of contributions by expert, provision of resource material and the facilitation of research supporters required by the Steering Committee.
 

Prof. Suri Ratnapala

Designation - Emeritus Professor of Law at The University of Queensland and a part-time Commissioner at The Australian Law Reform Commission

Qualifications - LLB (Colombo), LLM (Macquarie), PhD (Qld), and FAAL.

Experience - Professor of Public Law at The University of Queensland.

Prof. Austin Pulle

Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara

Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara

Designation

Qualifications - DPhil (York) and MA (PDN)

Experience - Former Dean - Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya and Head of the Department of Political Science.

N. Selvakkumaran

Designation - Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Colombo

Qualifications - LL.B (Hons), M.Phil& Attorney-at-Law

Experience - Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2000 till 2012

Prof. Camena Guneratne

Designation - Professor, Department of Legal Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka, Attorney-at-Law

Qualifications - LL.B (Colombo),  LL.M (Harvard), PhD (Waikato)

Experience - Member – National Human Rights Action Plan 2017-2021, Member of the Drafting Committee on Environmental Rights (September 2016), Member - Task Force to implement the report of the Leader of the Opposition – Commission on the prevention of violence against women and the girl child (April 2015), Member – Law Commission of Sri Lanka (July 2011 to date)

Prof. Kapila Perera

Designation - Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa

Qualifications
- B.Sc. Engineering (Moratuwa), M.Sc. (University of California), Ph.D. (University of California)

Experience
- Service Cadet, Sub Lieutenant (SL Navy), Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Director – Staff Development Center – University of Moratuwa, Co-Lead Consultant – Faculty of Technology, Sri Jayawardanepura University, Co-Lead Consultant – Faculty of Technology, Kelyaniya University, UGC Appointed Coordinator – Faculty of Engineering, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Dean – Faculty of Engineering– University of Moratuwa.

Suren Fernando

Designation - Attorney-at-Law

Qualifications - LL.B. (hons) Colombo, LL. M. (London)

Experience - Legal practice in civil-commercial, constitutional and public law. 

Niran Anketell

Designation - Attorney at Law

Qualifications - LL.B (Honors) Colombo and  LL.M (New York) 

Experience - Co-founder and Legal Adviser for South Asian Centre for Legal Studies, litigating human rights, public law and other cases.

Asoka Gunawardena

Ms.Chamindry Saparamadu

Designation - Attorney-at-Law / UNDP Technical Consultant on RTI.

Qualifications Profession/ academic -Attorney-at-Law. B.A (Hons.) Economics, University of Delhi. LLB, University of Colombo. LLM, University of Wales. M.A (International Development), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Experience in the past 5 years - Head of UN Resident Coordinator's Office Sri Lanka (2014-2016), Senior Researcher, International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) (2012-2014),Research Consultant, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) (2012-2014)(Research Focus: Post-war Democratization/ Religious Harmony & Interfaith Dialogue/ Political Economy Analysis/ State Legitimacy

 
  
The input by the Panel of Experts
 

Prof. Suri Ratnapala

Designation - Emeritus Professor of Law at The University of Queensland and a part-time Commissioner at The Australian Law Reform Commission

Qualifications - LLB (Colombo), LLM (Macquarie), PhD (Qld), and FAAL.

Experience - Professor of Public Law at The University of Queensland.

Prof. Austin Pulle

Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara

Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara

Designation

Qualifications - DPhil (York) and MA (PDN)

Experience - Former Dean - Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya and Head of the Department of Political Science.

N. Selvakkumaran

Designation - Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Colombo

Qualifications - LL.B (Hons), M.Phil& Attorney-at-Law

Experience - Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2000 till 2012

Prof. Camena Guneratne

Designation - Professor, Department of Legal Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka, Attorney-at-Law

Qualifications - LL.B (Colombo),  LL.M (Harvard), PhD (Waikato)

Experience - Member – National Human Rights Action Plan 2017-2021, Member of the Drafting Committee on Environmental Rights (September 2016), Member - Task Force to implement the report of the Leader of the Opposition – Commission on the prevention of violence against women and the girl child (April 2015), Member – Law Commission of Sri Lanka (July 2011 to date)

Prof. Kapila Perera

Designation - Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa

Qualifications
- B.Sc. Engineering (Moratuwa), M.Sc. (University of California), Ph.D. (University of California)

Experience
- Service Cadet, Sub Lieutenant (SL Navy), Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Director – Staff Development Center – University of Moratuwa, Co-Lead Consultant – Faculty of Technology, Sri Jayawardanepura University, Co-Lead Consultant – Faculty of Technology, Kelyaniya University, UGC Appointed Coordinator – Faculty of Engineering, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Dean – Faculty of Engineering– University of Moratuwa.

Suren Fernando

Designation - Attorney-at-Law

Qualifications - LL.B. (hons) Colombo, LL. M. (London)

Experience - Legal practice in civil-commercial, constitutional and public law. 

Niran Anketell

Designation - Attorney at Law

Qualifications - LL.B (Honors) Colombo and  LL.M (New York) 

Experience - Co-founder and Legal Adviser for South Asian Centre for Legal Studies, litigating human rights, public law and other cases.

Asoka Gunawardena

Ms.Chamindry Saparamadu

Designation - Attorney-at-Law / UNDP Technical Consultant on RTI.

Qualifications Profession/ academic -Attorney-at-Law. B.A (Hons.) Economics, University of Delhi. LLB, University of Colombo. LLM, University of Wales. M.A (International Development), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Experience in the past 5 years - Head of UN Resident Coordinator's Office Sri Lanka (2014-2016), Senior Researcher, International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) (2012-2014),Research Consultant, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) (2012-2014)(Research Focus: Post-war Democratization/ Religious Harmony & Interfaith Dialogue/ Political Economy Analysis/ State Legitimacy

 
 towards the committees of the process is coordinated through the Constitutional Assembly Secretariat.
 

The members of the Panel of Experts appointed by the Constitutional Assembly and/or the Steering Committee are as follows:

  • Prof. Suri Ratnapala
  • Prof. Austin Pulle
  • Prof. A.M Navaratna Bandara
  • N. Selvakkumaran
  • Prof. (Ms.) Camena Gunaratne
  • Prof. Kapila Perera
  • Suren Fernando
  • NiranAnkatell
  • Asoka Gunawardena
  • Ms. ChamindrySaparamadu
The contributions of the Panel of Experts includes academic and technical input at committee deliberations, submission of position papers in respect of subject matters under discussion and the provision of general expertise.

Further to the decision of the Steering Committee on 23rd June, 2016 to specifically assign the members of the Panel of Experts to assist the Sub-Committees, separate meetings of the Panel of Experts were organized by the CAS as a mechanism to broad base their contributions.This enabled closer coordination of the work of the Sub-Committees and ensured that experts could also draw from the diverse viewpoints of others on the Panel when making contributions. A pivotal role was played by the Panel of Experts both in furthering discussions and in assisting with the compiling of the Sub-Committee Reports.
 
Research support to the process is extended by the Research Team of the CAS which consists of academics and practitioners with experience in constitutional law and related fields. In order to support the deliberations of the sub-committees, comparative research briefs on the assigned subject areas were compiled by the Team and submitted for the consideration of the respective Sub-Committees.This was in addition to the regular research support that is extended to the Steering Committee when required to do so.
 
The Media Unit of the CAS has been set up in order to create public awareness and to facilitate social media interaction in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages. The information released to the public is subject to express approval being granted by the Steering Committee in that regard.
 
The activities of the Constitutional Assembly Secretariat also include the organizing of workshops and training programs. In July 2016, a delegation of scholars from diverse backgrounds and expertise in the field of constitutional law, was invited to share their insights with a particular focus on the fields of Fundamental Rights and the Judiciary. The programincluded sessions with Members of Parliament, experts to the process as well representatives from the Attorney General’s Department, the Legal Draftsman’s Department and the Human Rights Commission. The programwas sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
 
In the third week of September 2016, a visiting delegation of experts conducted a workshop to share their experiences from around the world with regard to plain language drafting of constitutional texts. This was mainly for the benefit of key government institutions and local drafting experts, and included a team of officers from the Attorney General’s Department, the Legal Draftsman’s Department.