Questions and Answers

Executing a Power of Attorney in Sri Lanka

Question

Can you please tell whether a power of attorney can be attested by giving authority to act on behalf of a person who is in Sri Lanka? Both the principal and Power of Attorney holder are living in Sri Lanka. Power of Attorney is needed since the principal is sick and bed-ridden.

Kamal from Negombo

Answer

The principal being bedridden is a very good reason to execute a Power of Attorney. He can execute it whether he is in or out of Sri Lanka. Ensure that he (the principal) understands that what he authorizes has to be specific in wording the Power of Attorney.

Further, if the Power of Attorney is with regard to a Court case, please refer to section 25b of the Civil Procedure Code which explains as follows:

“Persons holding general Power of Attorney from parties not resident within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Court within which limits the appearance or application is made or act done, authorizing them to make such appearances and applications and do such acts on behalf of such parties; which power, or a copy thereof certified by an Attorney-at-Law or notary, shall in each case be filed in the Court.”

Safety and protection of a child under the law

Question

I am a married woman living separately. My son is eight years old and lives with my husband. I got to know that my husband is not looking after our child properly and he is not sending him to school regularly. What are the legal remedies available to me with regard to the protection of my child?

Daily News Reader

Answer

You could complain to the National Child Protection Authority and the Women and Children Bureau regarding the protection and safety of the child. You could also file a Court case in the Juvenile Court under the provisions of the Children and Young Persons' Ordinance. If you are willing to get the custody of your child, you could file a custody case in the District Court or request for access of your child. You could go to the nearest Legal Aid Centre for further legal assistance.

A vacancy on foreign employment

Question

I wish to go abroad and work as a house maid. When I search for vacancies in the newspaper, there are many advertisements on vacancies in Abu Dhabi. How do I know whether the details mentioned in those advertisements are true and the agencies are legitimate?

Shahida - Katugastota

Answer

The advertisements on foreign employment have to be published with the prior permission of the Foreign Employment Bureau. The Agencies have to be registered at the Foreign Employment Bureau. When you select an Agency, make sure it is legally registered at the Bureau and it is not black-listed. You could get all the details of your foreign job vacancy from the Bureau and clarify things. You have to sign a contract of employment and register at the Bureau if you are going abroad for a job.

Designated officer appointed under RTI Act

Question

According to Right to Information Act in Sri Lanka, should an Information Officer and Designated Officer be appointed by the public authority? If a Designated Officer is not appointed, what can a citizen do?

Ganepola - Mihintale

Answer

A circular of the Government of Sri Lanka has specified that where state entities are concerned, the Head of that department or body becomes the Designated Officer, if no Designated Officer is appointed. So you could ascertain who that is, submit an appeal and then come to the Commission. If no Information Officer or Designated Officer is appointed by a public authority, then an information requester could submit a request to the head/CEO (who becomes the Information Officer under the Act) and then come directly to the Commission.

Maintenance for a disabled child

Question

I have a grandchild with a mental disability. Now he is 30 years and living with me. His father is a Director of a company and his mother had passed away. His father is neglecting him and not paying maintenance. What are the legal remedies available? Please advise.

Answer

According to the Maintenance Act No. 37 of 1999, a disabled child is entitled to claim maintenance from his parents during his lifetime. However, the disability has to be proven in Courts. If they're not a child below 18 or an adult offspring between the age of 18 and 25, they can claim maintenance from their parents. Therefore, you could file a maintenance action on behalf of your disabled grandson and claim maintenance from his father. You could go to the nearest Legal Aid Centre for further assistance.

Role of a Jury in a criminal case

Question

I am a Law student. Please explain what a jury is and in what circumstances it is used?

Answer

For more serious offences, including crimes against the State, murder, culpable homicide, attempted murder and rape, the law provides for trial by jury. In such cases, a jury of seven members is chosen by lot from a panel elected by the accused unless the court directs otherwise. Both the prosecution and the defense have the opportunity to eliminate proposed members of the jury. The jury is required to reach a verdict by a majority of no less than five to two. In cases where the law does not prescribe trial by jury, the judge gives the verdict and passes sentence at the conclusion of the hearings. 

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