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Pritzker Legal Research Center


Sri Lanka: Center for International Human Rights

Legal System

Sri Lanka has a mixed legal system of English common law, Roman-Dutch law, Muslim law, and customary law. Sources of law include the Constitution, statutes, judicial precedent, textual precedent, and customs. 

Research Process

Use the following strategy to efficiently find laws and cases from Sri Lanka:
 
Step 1: Consult secondary sources such as journal articles or news articles to familiarize yourself with the topic and identify relevant laws and cases.
 
Step 2: Using a research guide to assist you (including this one), identify relevant resources (e.g., websites, databases) where you can access legal materials from Sri Lanka.
 
Step 3: Retrieve or search for the foreign legal materials using the suggested resources.
 
Note that Westlaw and Lexis do not provide access to laws and cases from Sri Lanka. You will need to rely on a combination of free websites (including government websites) and databases to find legal materials from Sri Lanka.
 

Research Guides

These research guides are useful starting points for understanding Sri Lanka's legal system and well as the sources of law in Sri Lanka. These guides include links to recommended online resources that provide access to legal materials from this country. 

Constitution

The resources below provide access to the current and historical versions of the constitution. The current version was promulgated in 1978 and has been amended several times (most recently in 2020). 

Laws and Cases

If you conduct a Google search to retrieve a copy of a law or case, make sure to evaluate the website's authoritativeness and reputability. Laws and cases from Sri Lanka are not available on Westlaw or Lexis. 

Older laws and cases may be found in print. If you are looking for older legal materials, see the Sri Lanka research guides linked above for lists of law reports that you can search for on NUsearch by publication name. 

In addition to checking country-specific databases and websites to find the foreign legal materials you need, subject-specific collections of laws, which collect laws from various countries pertaining to a particular subject, can be useful resources to incorporate into your research process. These resources often have better search capabilities than foreign government websites. For additional suggestions for subject law collections beyond the selected databases listed below, see the GlobaLex Foreign Law - Subject Law Collections on the Web research guide