M.U.M. Ali Sabry sworn-in as the Youngest President’s Counsel


Well known civil lawyer M.U.M. Ali Sabry was sworn-in as a President’s Counsel recently at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court.

A product of Kalutara Muslim Central College and Zahira College Colombo, Sabry enjoys a lucrative and voluminous practice in Original and Appellate Courts specializing in civil law.

In the recent past Sabry has appeared in many landmark cases including a ground breaking action brought in for Defence Secretary, Mr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa wherein he successfully obtained an interim injunction preventing the Sunday Leader from continuing to defame his character, a clear departure from hitherto known remedy of post publication action for damages.

In a series of actions brought in for Rohitha Bogollagama, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Neomal Perera, Lakshman Seneviratne and Earl Gunasekara all members of Parliament, Sabry successfully challenged their expulsion process from the party in the Original Court as pre-emptive action to prevent expulsion from the Parliament virtually opening a new jurisprudence in the arena.

A skillful exponent of the Constitutional remedies for the betterment of the society, Sabry successfully invoked the writ jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to prevent gem mining in tea estates to preserve the Minneriya Forest Reservation to put a halt to constructions of motels in the Horton Plains and to preserve the Uma Oya in Badulla District for the future generation, whilst regulating the Lead composition in paints through judicial activism.

Committed to transcending boundaries and opening vistas in his chosen field, Sabry voluntarily withdrew all technical objections which could have otherwise taken to permit a witness in United States to testify in a Sri Lankan Court via video conference opening a new chapter in Sri Lankan judicial history. Thus, Sabry became the first counsel to cross examine a witness via internet in a Sri Lankan Court.

The versatility in Sabry as a lawyer was brought into limelight in a recent significant Intellectual Property Right case, to prevent the publication and sale of the book "Neththa Wenuwata Eththa" (inside story of the JVP power struggle) authored by Wimal Weerawansa MP. The action brought in line with famous English case of Ashdown V. Telegraph Group Limited is considered as a milestone in Intellectual Property Jurisprudence in the country.

Meaningfully expanding accountability and transparency towards the private sector, he brought an action against the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) for breach of duty of care relating to Touchwood Share Transaction perhaps first of its kind in the country.

A much sought after civil practitioner Sabry appeared in several other leading cases in the recent past such as Gunadasa Kapuge damages case, Fredric Obeysekera last will case, Upali Wijewardena property case, Television Regulation case, Waters’ Edge compensation cases, Edna Melamine case, Multivision license case, Divineguma Bill, Presidential Election Petition, News casting website regulation case etc.

During his Law College days Sabry was the General Secretary of the Law Students’ Union and leader of the Sinhala Debating Team.

A former diplomat, Sabry was the Sri Lankan Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the founder of Sri Lankan International School in Jeddah. He had represented Sri Lanka in many International conferences including the Human Rights Session in the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2012.

Sabry had served in several important Statutory Boards such as the National Youth Services Council, University of Sri Jayawardanapura, University of National Vocational Training and Sri Lanka Petroleum Corporation. At present he is serving on several listed and non-listed private sector Boards. He is also a member of the Steering Committee currently working on the youth policies in Sri Lanka.

A member of the Law Commission of Sri Lanka, Sabry was awarded the prestigious TOYP award for achievement in law in the year 2009. An active member of the Bar, he had served as the treasurer of the Bar Association and at present serving as the Chairman of the Junior Bar Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

Sabry is the son of late M.S.M Uvais and Zareen Uvais of "Mudliyar Villa" Katukurunda Kalutara.

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