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By: Busnu Al Suoou


Naluivians have liveu unuei a system of law foi ovei two millennia. The oiigins of the
Naluivian legal system finus its ioots in a legal system which pievaileu in the ancient
Buuuhist kinguom of Sii Lanka uuiing the fiist millennium. Bowevei, since the Naluives
conveiteu to Islam in the 12

the uevelopment of the legal system has been
gieatly influenceu anu shapeu by Islamic law.

0ntil the beginning of the 2u
centuiy, the King, Noble Chiefs, anu Ninisteis weie
iesponsible foi maintaining social unity, law, anu oiuei in the aichipelago. A
"#$%&'##()* who was both the Chief }ustice, anu the chief ieligious cleiic at the ioyal
couit, was iesponsible foi iesolving uisputes among the people in accoiuance with the
local customs anu Islamic law.

Although the ancient Naluivian legal system was veiy simple, it hau a well oiganizeu
anu coheient aiiangement foi uispensing justice as well as iegulating law anu oiuei. As
a iesult the legal system woikeu well, anu suiteu to the tiauitional society. Bowevei, uue
to changes in the political system, anu the expansion of the countiy's economy uuiing
the seconu half of the 2u
centuiy, the legal system began to uevelop into a moie foimal
stiuctuie to iesolve uisputes.

Although the Naluivian legal system has taken long stiiues in its moueinization effoits,
it still has many moie challenges to oveicome. Among the challenges, theie is still no
systematic methou of law iepoiting, oi publication of statutes passeu by the pailiament.
A fuithei uifficulty is piesenteu by the absence of law textbooks to guiue the stuuents
anu piactitioneis. Theiefoie, this book is uesigneu to catei foi the huge neeu felt by the
legal community foi such a woik. It is aimeu at pioviuing law stuuents, legal
piactitioneis anu othei ieseaicheis with an intiouuction to the Naluivian legal system.

The book is uiviueu into ten chapteis incoipoiating all aspects of the Naluivian legal

Chaptei 1 makes a thoiough investigation of the ancient legal system of the Naluive
Islanus. This chaptei also biiefly looks at the ancient political system of the countiy
with a view to unueistanu the backgiounu in which the legal system opeiateu anu
uevelopeu ovei the couise of histoiy. As this has not been the subject of any pievious
stuuy, this chaptei will not only benefit law stuuents anu legal ieseaicheis, but also be
of use to those who aie inteiesteu in stuuying the ancient kinguom of the Naluive

Chaptei 2 follows the uevelopment of the Naluivian legal system uuiing the 2u

centuiy. The puipose of this chaptei is to exploie the factois that tiiggeieu the legal
system's tiansfoimation fiom an ancient simplicity to a mouein complexity.

Chaptei S explains the souices of Naluivian law fiom which laws aie ueiiveu an applieu
by the couits.

Chaptei 4 examines the couit system. In this chaptei, vaiious couits anu theii poweis
aie examineu in uetail.

Chaptei S, 6 anu 7 focuses on the actual people who uiive the legal system - the juuges,
piosecutois anu the legal piofession. As such, these chapteis analyze the constitutional
iole of the juuges, juuicial seivice, legal anu piosecutoiial seivice of the state anu the
legal piofession.

Chaptei 8 tiaces the uevelopment anu piesent status of legal euucation in the Naluives.

Chaptei 9 anu 1u pioviues an outline of the ciiminal anu civil pioceuuie followeu by the
couits to auministei justice.

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