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About Us

The Law and Society Trust (LST) is a legal research and advocacy organisation founded in 1982 in Colombo, Sri Lanka by the late Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam. Our goals are the promotion of legal reforms for access to justice, justiciability of rights, and public accountability

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VISION

A society free from war, discrimination and social injustice and based upon human dignity for all.

MISSION

To utilise rights-based strategies in research, documentation and advocacy, and to promote the full realisation of the rule of law, justiciability of rights and public accountability.

Our Founder

Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam

Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam completed his LL.B at the University of Colombo, and his LL.M and SJD at Harvard University, where he was a lecturer at the Harvard Law School. He authored a number of publications on law, development and social justice. He was a Director of both the Law & Society Trust (LST) and the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), and a Senior Partner of Tiruchelvam Associates—a leading law firm in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Tiruchelvam was a Member of Parliament and a Member of the Select Committees on Constitutional Reform and Standing Orders in 1995. From 1978 –1983, he was a member of the Law Commission appointed by the President to report on all aspects of law reform, and from 1979-1980 he was a member of the Presidential Commission on democratic decentralisation and devolution. He participated in a number of international election observer missions, including in Chile, Pakistan, Hungary, Bangladesh and Nepal. Dr. Tiruchelvam also assisted in the evaluation of the draft constitution of Kazakhstan and in the review of the constitution-making process in Ethiopia.

In December 1992, Dr. Tiruchelvam delivered a keynote address at the Conference on Constitutionalism and Democratic Politics in China. In January 1993, he delivered a keynote address to the Council of Europe at the Conference on Human Rights at the Dawn of the 21st Century in Strasbourg. He was co-chair of an international evaluation team on the peace structure in South Africa, which was constituted by the National Peace Council and International Alert. Dr. Tiruchelvam delivered the Chandra Soysa Memorial Lecture on “Crisis of Constitutionalism in South Asia”, the Bandaranaike Memorial Lecture in 1992 and the Kanchana Abeypala Memorial Lecture in 1996.

Dr. Tiruchelvam was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber in July 1999.

Board of Directors

Chairman

Mr. Chandra Jayaratne


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Mr. Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne is a good governance activist and the former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. He was LMD’s Sri Lankan of the Year in 2001.

Director

Mr. G.J.T. Alagaratnam P.C.


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Mr. G.J.T. Alagaratnam P.C.

Geoffrey Alagaratnam is a former lecturer and Honours Graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Colombo. He was appointed as President’s Counsel in 2005 and headed the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law at the University of Colombo between 2010 and 2012. He served as President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) from 2015 to 2016.

Director

Dr. Shivaji Felix


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Dr. Shivaji Felix

Dr. Shivaji Felix holds LL. B. (Honours) degrees from the University of Colombo and the University of London and a Ph. D. from the University of London. He is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. He is an Associate Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies of the University of London and a Fellow of the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation. He holds a Diploma (cum laude) from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London. He is a member of the Society of Legal Scholars of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Dr. Felix has many locally and internationally refereed publications to his credit. He is a Council Member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation and is a Committee member of the Sri Lanka Branch of the International Fiscal Association. He is a member of the Taxes Committee, the Human Rights Law Committee and the Public Law Committee of the International Bar Association. Dr Felix practices as an Attorney-at-Law with a focus on public law and revenue law. He has appeared as counsel in some of the leading tax cases in Sri Lanka. He is regularly consulted by some of the largest publicly quoted companies in Sri Lanka.

Director

Dr. Harini Amarasuriya


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Dr. Harini Amarasuriya

Harini Amarasuriya is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Studies of the Open University of Sri Lanka. She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, where her dissertation work explored the nexus between the state, development policy and practice within the bureaucracy, specifically in relation to probation and child care services in Sri Lanka.

Harini’s work has included research in the areas of youth unemployment and conflict, gender, child protection, globalisation and development. She was the lead researcher for Sri Lanka’s National Human Development Report 2014, which focussed on Youth and Development and was also a member of the drafting team for Sri Lanka’s National Youth Policy, which was launched in 2014. Harini was a Member of the Public Representations Committee (PRC), which was a body appointed by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to seek the views of the public on constitutional reform.

Director

Dr. Farzana Haniffa


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Dr. Farzana Haniffa

Farzana Haniffa obtained her PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2007 and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department of the University of Colombo. Her research and activist interests for the past fifteen years have concentrated on minority politics and transitional justice in Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the country's Muslim communities. Farzana has published locally and internationally on issues of women and conflict, transitional justice, militarisation and child rights in Sri Lanka. She is a member of the management council of the Social Scientists’ Association (SSA) and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Secretariat for Muslims. Farzana was a member of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF), which was appointed by the Prime Minister in January 2016 to gather the views of the public on the reconciliation mechanisms proposed by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Our Staff

Executive Director

Sakuntala Kadirgamar

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Head of Programmes

Sandun Thudugala

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Programme Manager

P.M. Senarathna

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Librarian & Information Officer

Harshani Connel

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In-house Editor

Dilhara Pathirana

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Head of Finance & Administration

M. Hasara Dilhani Fernando

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HR & Administrative Officer

Janaki Dharmasena

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Accounts Assistant

Prasanna Gajaweera

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Office Assistant

K. Elankeswari

LST Today
The Law & Society Trust (LST) is a not-for-profit organisation engaged in legal research, advocacy and human rights documentation.

Our aim is to use rights-based strategies in order to promote and protect human rights, enhance public accountability and strengthen respect for the rule of law. LST has built strong networks in different communities by implementing effective programmes, engaging in advocacy based on sound research and operating consistently in democratic spaces wherever they exist in order to strengthen institutions, promote equal access and uphold good governance through honesty, transparency and persistent inquiry.

The interventions mentioned above have included rights education, advocacy, skills training and engagements with community–based organisations, duty bearers at the district and national levels, judges, lawyers and opinion leaders. The organisation also focuses on awareness raising with respect to human rights, dissemination of information on critical aspects of its work, and network and coalition-building at a national and international level. The knowledge gained through these efforts has shaped the strategies and approaches adopted in all of LST’s programmes.

LST was founded in 1982 by the late Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam under the Trusts Ordinance. It was subsequently incorporated in 1992 under the Companies Act No. 17 of 1982 and given Registration No. N(A) 211. LST has since re-registered as required by law under the new Companies Act No.07 of 2007.