Lalanath De Silva was a public interest litigator and advocate for over two decades. Pioneering the growth of public interest law in the area of the environment, he appeared in many of Sri Lanka’s leading environmental cases on behalf of victims, communities and non-governmental organizations. He also worked for the Government of Sri Lanka for two years as the Legal Consultant to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. During that time he was responsible for drafting and enacting the bulk of Sri Lanka’s environmental regulatory provisions. From 2002-2005 he served as a Legal Officer in the Environmental Claims Unit of the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) in Geneva. Together with a small group of international lawyers, he helped process the largest war reparations claims handled by the UNCC to monitor, assess, restore and compensate for environmental damage resulting from the 1991 Gulf War.
Lalanath joined the World Resources Institute (WRI) in 2005 as the Director of The Access Initiative (TAI) (www.accessinitiative.org). Since then he has been focusing on helping over 150 civil society groups in over 40 countries assess the status of access to information, public participation and access to justice in their countries. Through these assessments, civil society partners identify gaps in access laws, practices and institutions and undertake activities that will change the situation on the ground.
Lalanath qualified as a lawyer from the Sri Lanka Law College and has a Master of Laws degree from the Law School, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.