South Asian Association for Regional Co - operation in Law, SAARCLAW, is an association of the legal communities of the SAARC countries comprising judges, lawyers, academicians, law teachers, public officers and a host of other law-related persons, duly registered with the SAARC Secretariat at Kathmandu and awarded the status of a Regional Apex Body of SAARC . It owes its origin to the desire of the members of the legal community to establish an association within the SAARC region to disseminate information and to promote an understanding of the concerns and developments of the region.
SAARCLAW was established in Colombo on 24th October 1991, when the then President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. Ranasinghe Premadasa inaugurated the Association in the presence of a large gathering including 175 members of the legal community like judges, legal practitioners and academics of the SAARC. In the ensuing twenty six years, affiliate Country Chapters have been established in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and activities of the Organisation have also taken place in the Republic of Maldives. A permanent Regional Secretariat as has been established in Kathmandu, Nepal on January, 2016.
The SAARCLAW CONFERENCES have been acclaimed as affording an opportunity to its members for interaction, exchange of ideas and for forging a spirit of solidarity. It has been the convention since 1995 to hold a conference of the Chief Justices of the SAARC countries concurrently with the SAARCLAW Conference and the Chief Justices’ Conference has become an integral part of the SAARCLAW Conference. This feature has become institutionalized now and offers a forum for the exchange of thoughts and views of the Chief Justices of our countries.
The first SAARCLAW conference was held in Sri Lanka in 1991. Since then conferences, seminars and symposiums have been held almost every year in the SAARC region, at Colombo, Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Thimphu, Male, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Jaipur. Until now, Fourteen SAARCLAW Conferences and Eleven SAARC Chief Justices’ Conferences have been held. 14th SAARCLAW Conference & 11th SAARC Chief Justices’ Conference was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 27th /28th and 29th October, 2017. The main theme of the conference was “Emerging Legal Trends in SAARC Countries”. Chief Justices from all the SAARC countries were present at the event except for India. SAARCLAW has also announced the formation of SAARCLAW Women's Rights Initiative (SAARCLAW-WRI) in the 13th SAARCLAW Conference and 10th SAARC Chief Justices’ Conference.
In its more than 26 years of existence, the members of SAARCLAW have persistently worked towards the achievement of its objectives of bringing together the legal communities within the region for closer co-operation, development of understanding, promotion of exchange of ideas and dissemination of information and to use and develop law as a source and an instrument towards social change for development as well as for building co-operation among the people of the region. SAARCLAW has brought lawyers, judges, academics within its fold. It has very successfully created a platform for the Chief Justices of the region to sit together for a conference simultaneously with the SAARCLAW Conference.
A major step in this direction has been the establishment of the M. K. Nambyar SAARCLAW Centre for Advanced Studies and Research within the campus in association with the NALSAR University, Hyderabad and establishment of the Permanent Regional Secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal.