D. L. & F. De Saram is one of the oldest and largest law firms in Sri Lanka, founded in 1898, and has been consistently ranked as a top tier legal firm by IFLR 1000, Legal 500, Chambers Global and Chambers Asia Pacific.
The firm provides cross border legal services to major international firms in, inter alia, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Europe and Australia. Our highly qualified, versatile and experienced legal team comprises of specialists in all aspects of civil and commercial law. We have acted as local counsel in several prominent commercial and infrastructure projects including the US$ 1.5 billion Port City Project, the largest infrastructure project undertaken in Sri Lanka and the firm’s M&A team has been involved in three of the largest M&A transactions in Sri Lanka.
Our compliance and employment law team advise several multinational companies on various aspects of Sri Lankan labour law, including preparation of employment contracts, collective agreements, employment and compliance guides and notebooks, undertaking compliance audits and general advice.
The firm has considerable experience in advising clients on Sri Lankan anti-bribery and corruption laws as well as assisting as Sri Lankan counsel in FCPA investigations. The firm also has extensive involvement in cross border banking and finance transactions and provides legal services to leading multinational corporations and international and domestic banking institutions. The firm also undertakes company incorporations (including incorporations with the approval of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka) and establishment of branch, representative and liaison offices.
We also advise on all aspects of foreign and local investment, including facilitating and advise on the obtainment of approvals from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Board of Investment (BOI) and provide company secretarial services to over 500 domestic companies, many of which are listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange.
The Firm undertakes extensive pro bono work and was nominated for the Trust Law innovation award in 2017.
The firm provides legal counsel in all aspects of foreign and local investment, including facilitating and advising, on approval from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Board of Investment (BOI), specific incentives and exemptions granted by the BOI, including tax holidays/preferential tax rates, exemption from customs duty, foreign exchange controls, tax, banking and finance issues related to foreign investment including: Securities Investment Accounts (SIA), Offshore Banking/FCBU Accounts, RFC/NRFC Accounts, entry rules and procedures for obtaining visas and permits for employment and businesses.
Banking & Finance
The firm handles complex cross border financing for both domestic blue chip companies and multinational corporations and financial institutions, acting as co-counsel with international law firms. It has wide experience in asset and project finance and handling structured transactions in the fields of energy, infrastructure, transportation, communications, real estate and pharmaceuticals; advises on exchange control laws relevant to corporate financial transactions within the Sri Lankan legal framework. The firm also advises on a range of banking and financial services, including loans, performance bonds, bid bonds and other credit instruments, government bonds, treasury bills and other financial and treasury instruments, mortgages and guarantee agreements, letters of credit, documentary collection (DA/DP terms), open account and other trade finance transactions, bills of exchange, promissory notes and cheques.
Mergers & Acquisitions
The firm has an experienced team of lawyers specializing in M & A, in the fields of energy, infrastructure, construction and pharmaceuticals And handles private equity and public mergers and acquisitions, and was recently associated with two of the largest M & A transactions in Sri Lanka. The firm also undertakes due diligence exercises and preparation of share purchase and shareholders’ agreements and specializes in advising clients on Sri Lankan foreign investment and amalgamation laws and at present advises major Chinese and Indian clients on structured inbound investment.
Capital Markets & Securities
Advises on issues of shares, debentures and warrants and other listed and unlisted instruments, derivative products and securitizations. Assists Sri Lankan companies seeking to list shares and debt instruments in overseas exchanges as well as international bond issues with underlying assets being located in Sri Lanka; and international banks in the preparation of memorandums and prospectuses for sales notes and warrants to Sri Lankan customers. Has considerable experience in advising on ISDA documentation for corporate and non - corporate counterparties.
Competition & Antitrust
The firm advises clients on all aspects of competition law issues, including reviewing arrangements and agreements that are potentially anti-competitive, joint ventures, merger controls, dominance and practices, and preparing compliance memorandums.
Provides legal counsel to general contractors, prime contractors, subcontractors, architects and design professionals, owners, developers, construction managers and suppliers in all matters relating to the construction industry. Also undertakes specialized construction arbitration work
The firm specializes in infrastructure project development (including ports, power and energy, highways, etc.), with special emphasis on PPPs and cross border financing. The firm advises clients on the regulatory framework for infrastructure development with special emphasis on ports and terminals, energy, utilities and highways. Assists investors on all aspects of the project cycle, from tendering procedures, labour requirements, operational issues and dispute resolution. Advises lenders and developers on project finance and all types of PPP arrangements. Has considerable experience in advising on and preparing concession and implementation agreements, joint venture agreements, purchase agreements, finance and direct lending agreements.
Labour, Employment & Immigration
The firm provides the full spectrum of labour and employment legal services to its domestic and multinational clients. These include advice on employee remuneration and benefits, resignations and terminations, dispute resolution, disciplinary hearings, employment terms including superannuation and pension benefits, disputes with trade unions and individual and collective disputes, workmen’s compensation and preparation of employment contracts, collective agreements, settlements and awards. Also has significant experience in HR and employee restructuring; advises multinationals on the compatibility of international labour regulations with Sri Lankan laws.Assists in compilation of employment guides and handbooks.
The firm’s real estate team advises on foreign ownership restrictions, land acquisitions and sales, mortgage and lease agreements, together with due diligence examinations on real estate and the preparation, attestation and registration of transfers and other title documents. Currently involved as legal advisers to 3 of the largest mixed development projects undertaken in Sri Lanka. The scope of services include advising on condominium law and general drawbacks, preparation of condominium plans and declarations, sales agreements, deeds of transfer and obtaining local authority documentation. Also advises construction companies employed in mixed development projects.
Restructuring & Insolvency
The firm advises clients on winding up laws, insolvency and deregistration filing requirements, restructuring of debt and formal insolvency proceedings. The team institutes and defends insolvency proceedings on behalf of its clients. Also advises lenders and investors on corporate structuring.
Handles applications for the registration of trademarks, copyrights, industrial design, patents and related services, including litigation arising from infringements and trademark enforcements; advises on infringement of Intellectual Property rights and IP dispute resolution, including litigation.
The firm undertakes IT assignments dealing with, drafting and dispute resolution on all aspects of information technology law, including software development and licensing, IT consultancy and agency, outsourcing, trans-border data flow agreements, data privacy, domain registrations, web site and e-commerce, software development and licensing agreements and IT dispute resolution.
Admiralty & Shipping
Advises Shipping and Protection and Indemnity interests on cross border disputes, with special emphasis on cargo claims, vessel mortgage enforcement and crew arrests, salvage and ground handling disputes. Facilitates and advises on many aspects of Admiralty, Shipping and International Trade, including, collisions, groundings, fires and cargo disputes, charter parties, bills of lading, and contracts of freight, marine insurance, ship arrests and crew arrests, maritime litigation and arbitration, purchase, appraisement, sale and registration of vessels. key clients Steamship Mutual | Ship owners Mutual | North of England P & I | Nippon Express South Asia and Oceania | Hanjin | Evergreen Shipping.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
The firm specializes in civil and commercial litigation, arbitration, dispute resolution, corporate insolvency and bankruptcy and represents clients in in all courts and other dispute resolution for a throughout Sri Lanka. The team assists clients in respect of all litigation and dispute resolution matters, with creditors, debtors, clients, shareholders, staff and other third parties.
Advises on many aspects of tax, both individual and corporate, including tax incentives and exemptions for foreign investors, corporate and income tax disputes, Value Added Tax (VAT) and other indirect tax issues; transaction structuring and representing clients in tax disputes.
Family Law & Testamentary
The firm advises on all aspects of family law and testamentary matters including, wills, probate, estate management, intestate succession and matrimonial issues.
Company Secretarial Services
The firm’s secretarial division, through its subsidiary, Corporate Advisory Services (Pvt.) Ltd. provides incorporation, secretarial and ancillary services to corporate clients, currently in excess of 500, in accordance with the provisions of Sri Lanka’s Companies Act. CAS is a virtual one-stop-shop for all services connected with the establishment and operation of a domestic or foreign company in Sri Lanka.