Significant contributions to legal literature | Daily News

Significant contributions to legal literature

There is a renewed interest among the general public regarding animal rights and animal welfare due to the much anticipated Animal Welfare Law which is taking shape at the time of writing. Therefore there couldn’t have been a better moment for the publication of “A Compilation of Animal Welfare Provisions and Case Law”.In addition to being a timely publication, this compilation adds immense value to the literature on environmental law. This book which is a labour of CELP, a platform for research and policy development rooted in the University of Colombo, fills a lacuna which existed in local legal literature.

The first half of the book sets down the primary legislation governing animal welfare, viz Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance No 13 of 1907. As a century-old law, the reader can see for oneself how certain provisions have now become redundant and have come to need repeal or amendment.

This fact is exemplified by the case law provided in the latter half of the book. The first case selected (Madawela v Rawther) demonstrates how the statute fails to encapsulate a situation which constitutes animal cruelty by any standard today. The case Inspector, Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, Nawalapitiya, V. Punchirala (1922) is yet another case where a strict interpretation of the statute resulted in a blatant disregard of animal rights. However, it is worthy of note that the book has a fair balance of cases which depict both successes and failures of the statute. Cases such as Mendis v Hunucumbura and Jayasinghe v Silva are fine examples of how the statute was successful in defending the rights of the animal. It is commendable that the selection of cases displays a variety in terms of results delivered. In addition, it can be seen that the authors have made a conscious decision to include early and recent cases alike. This provides the reader with a complete and balanced perspective of the overall relevance of the statute.

This compilation will certainly serve as a great starting point for any reader who seeks to understand the law surrounding animal welfare. Furthermore, I believe that this book will be equally valued by animal rights activists, legal academia and practitioners.

Public nuisance is arguably one of the most utilized avenues in environmental litigation. Despite its practical importance the legal framework that governs Public Nuisance can be quite murky to the law student or layperson with limited knowledge on the subject.

What this compilation offers is a simple and comprehensive picture in respect of the laws that govern Public Nuisance.

In terms of the content, the authors have reserved the first half of the book to lay out the legal provisions which govern Public Nuisance. Undoubtedly the most appealing aspect of this compilation is that a reader who wishes to acquaint oneself with the corpus of the law can conveniently access all the relevant legal provisions in a single publication. In addition, the book goes on to include several important judgments which unpack and scrutinize the concept in various angles. Therefore this book first builds a solid foundation on the theory and later opens the reader’s mind to the realities grappled with by our courts when putting the theory into practice. Discussing the entire mass of cases on public nuisance is impractical in a book of this nature and is certainly out of the question. What this book has instead attempted to do, is examine a selected few cases which demonstrate the many ways in which judicial thinking has traversed in interpreting the law. It has been successful in capturing the vivid mosaic of cases that the Sri Lankan Judiciary has encountered in the delivery of environmental justice.

While the Sri Lankan literature on Environmental Law is, in any case, scarce, a book which focuses on a specific yet pivotal matter such as public nuisance is even rarer. Therefore there’s no doubt that this publication by CELP is a welcome addition in that respect. Law students, practitioners as well as the general reader too will benefit from the convenience and clarity this compilation offers.