The guidelines have been issued by the President exercising the powers vested in him under article 33(e) of the Constitution.
Accordingly, no person can be appointed as a President’s Counsel, unless he or she is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, has reached eminence in the legal profession and maintained high standard of conduct and professional rectitude, has actively contributed by advocacy in any Courts of Sri Lanka or made an active contribution by way of advocacy to the development of the law or made a significant and an outstanding contribution as a subject specialist in law at senior level, either in the public sector or in an internationally recognized institution either in Sri Lanka or abroad and brought repute or honour to Sri Lanka.
The guidelines also states that to be appointed as a President’s Counsel that person should have, at all times been of good character and repute, not acted in violation of the Constitution Sri Lanka, not been engaged in any act or deed that has undermined or compromised the Rule of Law or the Independence of the Judiciary, not at any time been subject to any disciplinary order made against him/her by the Supreme Court or the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and/or has not been found to be liable for professional misconduct or misdeed by a Court of competent jurisdiction, is not bankrupt, has not been convicted of the offence of Contempt of Court or has not been found guilty by a competent Court either in or outside Sri Lanka, save and except any minor offence such as an offence under the Motor Traffic Act, has been registered with the Department of Inland Revenue as a tax payer for a minimum period of five years prior to the submission by him/her of the application seeking appointment as a President’s Counsel.
The President may after a verification process, seek the views of the Chief Justice and the Attorney General, with regard to those who are proposed to be appointed as President’s Counsel. (Colombo Gazette)