Legal market overview in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan economy has had another difficult year, with inflation reaching over 50% and foreign exchange reserves being at an all-time low. The standard rate of borrowing has also risen to 15.50%, alongside these financial issues, the country has suffered with severe food shortages, the Covid-19 pandemic and government departments not functioning as usual due to being short staffed. In July, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled to Singapore. This was in the midst of extreme public unrest that led to protestors attacking his own home, protestors blame the former PM for the country’s economic difficulties. Dinesh Gunawardena has since taken on the role of Prime Minister, and new Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe, has helped disrupt protests, destroying protestors tents and having police break up large crowds. Firms across all practice areas have been occupied assisting clients through these unprecedented circumstances.Firms and courts are still said to be adapting to the hybrid system that most countries have adopted post-Covid. Domestic courts saw very little in-person activity during the previous two years, though restrictions are noted to have eased with lawyers seeing an uptick in hearings from March 2022 onwards. August was also busy, with some firms highlighting that their numbers were comparable to their 2018 numbers. M&A activity has inevitably seen a downturn, though some firms did observe an increase in activity for certain sectors, particularly the IT and automotive fields.Several leading firms across the market such as D. L. & F. De Saram, F. J. & G. De Saram, Julius & Creasy and Nithya Partners continue to offer their remarkable services to domestic and international clients across a variety of sectors. LegalBase and Sudath Perera Associates maintain first-class advice in the IP sector. Alongside them, notable practices include Varners, John Wilson Partners, Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan) and Tiruchelvam Associates.

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