Law Enforcement and Court Proceedings: Child in Conflict with the Law in Sri Lanka

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Madhu Bilas Neupane


Based on research findings, this paper examines whether the practices and national legislation of Sri Lanka are maintaining the child-friendly law enforcement and juvenile justice practices according to international and regional standards. Sri Lanka has a long history of implementation of juvenile justice. As a sophisticated nature of a child, juvenile administration needs to uphold separate arrangements in every step of children's life as per their maturity to understand the situation and to protect and promote a child's rights during law enforcement and juvenile court proceedings. To explore Sri Lanka's experience, this descriptive research utilized secondary sources as well as primary information from stakeholders, experts, and a Juvenile Court observation. The domestic practices and legislature are evaluated and discussed concerning relevant principles of child rights such as the right to be heard, right to privacy, right to non-discrimination, the best interest of the child and principle of detention as last resort according to the Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989. Similarly, the role of police, probation officers, judicial medical officers, and juvenile court administrations are the main stakeholders to implement the national legislation concerning a child offender. The research identified most of the domestic legislature of Sri Lanka is in line with international standards of child rights. Further, this paper concluded with the research findings of the ineffective existing practice and provided arrangements during law enforcement, and juvenile justice proceedings to protect and promote child rights in Sri Lanka.

Article Details

How to Cite
Neupane, M. B. (2022). Law Enforcement and Court Proceedings: Child in Conflict with the Law in Sri Lanka. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 8(1), 136–153. Retrieved from
Research Articles



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List of Interviewees

Ms. Chandra (Officer, Department of Probation and Child Care Services), 30 May 2018, Battarmulla

Mr. Rustam (Probation officer) 6 June 2018, Dehiwala

Ms. Rukmai (Lawyer), 20 June, 2018, Juvenile Magistrate Court, Battarmulla

Ms. Geetha (Child rights expert, Former board members of National Child Protection Authority), 22 June 2018, Colombo

Ms. Ranju (Police officer, Children and Women Bureau), 25 June 2018, Colombo

Ms. Poonam (Lawyer/ Child protection activist), 26 June 2018, Colombo

Mr. Mahindra (INGO staff), 27 June 2018, Colombo