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Editorial

Overview

Sri Lanka’s economy grew by 7.4% in 2014, a slight increase on the year before, however, this growth was stymied in 2015 by political uncertainty following the new Sri Lankan president’s dissolution of parliament ahead of the August 2015 elections. Intended to consolidate power and push through political reforms, the uncertainty surrounding the election result caused a halt in infrastructure projects which were previously gathering pace. Foreign investment has also been affected by the enactment of the Land Bill which legislates against the purchasing of land by foreigners (although the new act does allow foreigners to acquire land on a lease basis of up to 99 years). Therefore, law firms reliant on a significant amount of projects work have suffered somewhat of a dip in workflow, as have those who are instructed by foreign corporates (offset to some extent by advisory work surrounding the implications of the Land Bill).

Now the elections have occurred and the results come through, the outlook for the future is positive with voting largely made along national rather than ethnic or regional lines. Indeed, the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has offered positive and conciliatory statements urging the country to move forward as "one family" and away from the divisive politics of the past.

The main players in the market include F. J. & G. De Saram, Nithya Partners, Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan), and Julius & Creasy. D. L. & F. De Saram, Sudath Perera Associates and Tiruchelvam Associates also have strong full-service practices.

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