Established as a public interest litigation firm, EFL’s primary objective is to ensure justice for nature through legal means. The organisation has been the forerunner in over 200 legal cases, filed on behalf of the general public of Sri Lanka.
During its commencement, EFL was instrumental in establishing the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), the mandated government institution for controlling pollution and protecting Sri Lankan environment in light of development projects among other things under the provisions of the National Environmental Act no. 47 of 1980 as amended in 1988 and 2001. The operations of EFL are financed through donor funds in the form of project/research grants and donations. EFL, with the tagline “Justice for Nature”, started as an initiative by a few law students to promote environmental law and seek legal remedies against destruction of the environment. Now, EFL has grown into an organised institution managed by a Board of Directors, numbering to 06-09, who work on an honorary basis. The Board of Directors, comprising eminent lawyers, renowned scientists and experienced corporate personnel, govern the operation of the organisation. It is believed that the composition of the Board would be salient in striking a balance in EFL’s approach resolving environmental issues.
EFL implements a range of conservation, research and advocacy projects. Examples include research fishing cats and urban wetland conservation in collaboration with Sri Lanka Land, Reclamation and Development Corporation, spatial planning to prioritise conservation in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the National Biodiversity Secretariat, raising awareness on forest law in the Northern Province and curtailing industrial water pollution through a policy dialogue for stakeholders.
Currently, EFL faces constraints in seeking legal justice for environmental issues of national significance due to lack of financial resources. It was a collective decision of the EFL Board of Directors to initiate a Legal Fund, to expand the scope of our legal operations and take immediate legal action when warranted. The legal fund would be used to finance EFL’s environmental investigations and resultant legal cases. Contributions to the proposed Legal Fund could be made in the form of seed money or through an annual contribution. In recognition, EFL will acknowledge support from partners and donors by providing them with membership which will enable them access to Financial Reports and quarterly.
Progress reports which will update donors on the progress and status of investigations and cases. Furthermore, the legal fund will be managed as per a set of guidelines accessible to funders and donors. EFL’s financial operation is annually audited by SJMS Associates to maintain the transparency in our work.
1. Illegal Encroachment of the Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve – EFL v DWC and other (CA writ 549/2006)
2. Illegal Road through Wilpattu National Park – EFL and 3 others v DWC and others (SCFR 224/2010)
3. Illegal Mini Hydro Power Plant in Peak Wilderness Nature Reserve (Eli Hatha) – EFL v DWC and others (CA 478/2015)
4. Illegal Mini Hydro Power Plant within the Wilderness Protected Area & UNESCO WHS boundaries along Koskulana River – EFL and 2 other v Forest Dept and others (SCFR 04/2016)
5. Case against Norochcholai Coal Power Plant and the impacts of it on the Narakkalliya and Ilanthadiya – EFL & 3 others v CEB & 7 others (SCFR 282/2016 (Norochcholai Case))
Successfully Concluded Cases in the recent past
1. Case against Sampur Coal Power Plant and the use of coal as an energy source – EFL v CEB & 15 others (SCFR 179/2016 (Sampur Case))
2. Amarawewa Forest Clearing – EFL and 2 other v Forest Department and others (SCR 699/2012) – decision in favour of Petitioners
3. Kanadalama Hotel Case – Environmental Foundation Limited v The Land Commissioner and two others (CA 573/1992)
4. Eppawala Case – Bulankulame v The Secretary, Ministry of Industrial Development and Others (3 SLR 243 (2000)) – decision in favour of Petitioners
5. Bomuruella Mini Hydro Power Case – Environmental Foundation Limited v Central Environmental Authority (Case No. Ca 1556/2004) – decision in favour of Petitioners
6. Galle Face Case – Environmental Foundation Limited v Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka (SCFR 47/2004) – decision in favour of Petitioner
7. Alienation of lands by the Mahaweli Authority – Environmental Foundation Limited and two others v Mahaweli Authority and 13 others (SCFR 459/2008) (1 SLR 01 (2010)) – decision in favour of Petitioners Investigations
To date EFL has been involved in over a thousand investigations related to environmental destruction, public nuisance cases and national legislation violations. EFL conducts site visits and generates information that is used in resolving the issue by engaging with relevant stakeholders. In the event that amicable resolution of the environmental issue fails, EFL takes legal action.