Pioneer female lawyer with many firsts to her name


It is with deep regret that I record the demise of Ms. Ratna de Zoysa, advocate of the Supreme Court and former Additional Legal Draftsman of the Government of Sri Lanka.

Ratna hailed from the famous de Zoysa family of the Southern Province. She was a niece of King’s Counsel and freedom fighter Sir Francis de Zoysa.

Though a devoted Roman Catholic, Ratna proudly spoke of her ancestors who introduced the Amarapura Chapter to Sri Lanka from Burma in the early 18th century. It was this Chapter that brought about the renaissance of Buddhism in this country.

Ratna had her early education at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya, and was the first advocate that Holy Family Convent produced. She was also the first woman to join the Legal Draftsman’s Department of Sri Lanka, and the country’s first lady legislative lawyer.

She was founder president of the Legal Officers Association of the Legal Draftsman’s Department, doing yeoman service for the welfare of its members.

A competent legislative lawyer, Ratna worked as a consultant in legislative drafting to various Commonwealth countries.

She passed away recently after a brief illness.

Aruna Shantha de Silva

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