The history of training for the legal profession in Sri Lanka goes as far back as 1833, the year in which the Supreme Court was empowered by Section 17 of the Charter of 1833, to admit and enroll as Advocates and Proctors, persons of good repute and of competent knowledge and ability upon examination by one or more of the judges of the Supreme Court. This was done in order to provide sufficient legal practitioners to work in the judicial system established by the British Colonial administration. There were no formal classes held to impart legal education at that time. The then system required that a period of apprenticeship be served under a practicing lawyer and the taking of certain examinations conducted by the Judges of the Supreme Court to satisfy the Judges that the apprentice had acquired sufficient legal knowledge to practise law. Consequently, the Law College was established to administer a formal course of study in preparation of persons for admission to the profession.
From the inception and up to 1973 the profession consisted of two branches – Advocates and Proctors. By the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973 which came into operation in January 1974 the two branches of the profession were fused and its members were called Attorneys-at-Law.
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