7th Departmental Research Forum on “Constitutional Law: Sovereignty of the People and Dilemma of the Constitution”

The Department of Public and International Law of the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo held its 7th edition f the Departmental Research Forum under the title of ‘Sovereignty of the people and Constitutional Dilemma’ on 18th August 2022 via zoom. The session started with the opening remarks delivered by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Sampath Punchihewa who appreciated the efforts of the Department of Public and International Law in organizing such a timely event. Mr. K A A N Thilakarathna opened the forum by providing a background into the current state of affairs followed by Dr. Sunil Coorey who was invited as a main speaker for the programme emphasized the importance of understanding how a constitution may be changed, where it was possible of being done accordance with the Constitution like that of the 1978 Constitution and where such is done through a method not provided under the Constitution as with the 1972 Constitution. Mr. Menaka Harankaha, currently serving as the Head of the Department of Commercial Law, next spoke on the political aspect of sovereignty and highlighted how sovereignty needs to be understood as both a legal and political concept, where the former is given primacy under the modern democracies. Lastly, Professor (Chair) Wasantha Seneviratne explained the difference between internal and external sovereignty and how Sri Lanka is facing a crisis regarding both. President Councel Nigel Hatch also joined in the discussion during the question-and-answer session and emphasized the need of revisiting some of the Supreme Court Judgments concerning the interpretation of the concept of sovereignty. The event was moderated by Mr. Isuru Liyanage from the Department of Public and International Law.

Due to the pandemic situation prevailing in the country, the forum took place on an online platform yet was able to attract a large number of participants virtually. Any researcher or student of law interested in listening to his lecture and would like to access the materials shared by the resource persons is encouraged to write an email to pil@law.cmb.ac.lk requesting the same, mentioning their name, occupation, affiliation, and the purpose.