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Mark Fernando

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Justice Mark Damien Hugh Fernando, PC (27 February 1941 – 20 January 2009) was a jurist and former judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. He died after a long bout with cancer on 20 January 2009. He was known as a Judge who stood up for judicial independence and the integrity of the profession.Justice Mark Fernando helped groom a generation of capable and honourable lawyers. During the early 1990s, when he was a member of the Council of Legal Education, Justice Fernando initiated the Legal Internship Scheme to assist law students awaiting the results of the final examination to qualify as attorneys-at-law. He believed that in order to provide sound legal advice an attorney must have a working knowledge of other disciplines besides law: for instance, he would point out that a lawyer asked by a client to advise on setting up a company must have some knowledge of finance, accountancy, human resource management, etc, in addition to being familiar with the provisions of the Companies Act. Since it was not possible to provide all that knowledge within the structure of education that existed at the Law College at the time, the Internship Scheme sought to place law students for a period of six months in the private sector, and with senior practitioners specialising in various aspects of law. Following his elevation to the Supreme Court in 1988 he became a firm defender of the rights and liberties guaranteed by the fundamental rights chapter of the Constitution. His judgments on the right to free speech, its relationship to the right to information, and his strong defence of the right of citizens to criticize and peacefully protest against their government are cited often.Justice Mark Fernando was posthumously conferred a ‘Special Award of Excellence for a Lifetime of Integrity’ at Transparency International Sri Lanka’s annual National Integrity Awards
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