From Exclusion to Inclusion: Evolution of the Role of Hansards in the Interpretative Process
Journal of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, 2018
14 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2020
Date Written: March 1, 2019
This paper focuses on relaxation of the exclusionary rule and how it has been adopted by the Sri Lankan judiciary over the years. While examining the evolution of the exclusionary rule and the process involved in its relaxation on a general note, this paper briefly surveys how the process has developed in selected comparative jurisdictions of England, United States of America (USA) and Canada and how it figures in our own legal system. Engaging in an elaborate study of the evolution of the exclusionary rule in Sri Lanka, the paper surveys judgments delivered by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court from 1981- 2014, deciphering the approach and the principles on which the rule has been relaxed locally and observing the judicial attitude of Sri Lankan courts towards the relaxation process.
Accordingly, this paper primarily explores questions whether the relaxation of the exclusionary rule has evolved over the years, whether the use of Hansards by the judiciary in the interpretative process makes interpretation more purposive, whether the relaxation enhances the role of the judiciary in achieving justice through interpretation and whether and how reference to Hansard could undermine the creative role of the judiciary in interpretation.
The paper intends to shed light on the fact that relaxation of the exclusionary rule in Sri Lanka happened well before the landmark English judgment in the case of Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v. Hart  1 All ER 42;  AC 593 (HL). Thus, it is anticipated that the analysis contained herein will fill a long existing gap of literature and legal and principle based analysis of the matter in the domestic context.
Keywords: Exclusionary rule, Hansards, Interpretation of the law, Sri Lanka
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