Ayesha Wijayalath

Ayesha Wijayalath

Postgraduate Research Student
BA (French Hons) (University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka)
MA in International Relations (University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Attorney-at-Law (Sri Lanka Law College)
LLM in International & Comparative Law (National University of Singapore)

Scientia PhD Candidate

Ayesha commenced her PhD in UNSW Law in 2020. Prior to joining UNSW, Ayesha worked as a Research Associate in the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore and was an Associate Editor of the Asian Journal of Comparative Law. She also worked as a Consultant for the Max Planck Institute of International Peace and the Rule of Law, Heidelberg, Germany.

Ayesha graduated from NUS with an LLM specialising in International and Comparative Law. She is also an Attorney-at-Law in Sri Lanka graduating with First Class Honours from Sri Lanka Law College. During her apprenticeship period, she worked in the Attorney General’s Department, Sri Lanka and later appeared in fundamental rights cases and civil appeals in Sri Lanka. She holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Colombo and a BA in French (First Class Honours) from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

Research Topic

Constraining Abusive Constitutional Change in Sri Lanka: Towards an Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment Doctrine.


Sri Lanka and its fragile democracy have experienced periods of illiberal democracy and moments of democratic revival. While political culture plays a significant role in this process, my research particularly focuses on abusive constitutional change in Sri Lanka through the formal amendment procedure and explores the Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment doctrine as a potential solution. In doing so, I will examine comparative models of the doctrine with a focus on South Asian jurisdictions. This research therefore hopes to provide significant contributions as and when Sri Lanka enters its next moment of liberal-democratic revival in pursuit of consolidating democratic gains.


Prof. Theunis Roux, Prof. Rosalind Dixon, and Prof. Melissa Crouch

Areas of Interest 

Comparative constitutional law, democracy and the rule of law, international humanitarian law, and transitional justice.

Publications and presentations

Publications/Working Papers:

  • ‘A Constitutional Court for Sri Lanka: Lessons from South Africa’, CALS Working Paper No 18/07, NUS
  • ‘Peace-building and Transitional Justice’, Current Affairs-Sri Lanka, ‘South Asia’-ISAS Newsletter, NUS, Issue No.22A, (October 2015-June 2015).
  • ‘Forging Sri Lanka’s Third Republican Constitution’, ISAS Insight No.325, NUS  (5 April 2016).
  • ‘Down-sizing Sri Lanka’s Executive Presidency’, ISAS Insight No.316, NUS (10 March 2016).
  • ‘UNHRC Resolution and Sri Lanka’s ‘Domestic Mechanism’; Accountability for Human Rights Violations’, ISAS Insight No.302, NUS (22 December 2015).
  • ‘Sri Lanka Towards a National Purpose’, ISAS Insight No. 296, NUS (11 November 2015).
  • ‘Politics on Good Governance in Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Polls’ ISAS Brief No.384, NUS (14 August 2015).

Conference Presentations:

  • ‘COVID-19 and Abusive Constitutional Change in Sri Lanka’ at the International Association of Constitutional Law Virtual Roundtable on ‘Democracy 2020: Assessing Constitutional Decay, Breakdown, and Renewal Worldwide’ (Nov 2020).
  • ‘The 2008 Constitutional Coup: the role of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Culture’ at ICON-S Santiago, Chile (1-3 July 2019).
  • ‘Constitutional contestation on religion in Sri Lanka’ presented at ICON-S 2018-Hong Kong, (25-27 June 2018).
  • ‘Constitutional contestation on religion in Sri Lanka’ at the International conference on ‘Religion and Constitutional Practices in Asia’, held in Colombo organized by the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, NUS and the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka (9-10 Nov 2017).
  • ‘The Executive President, 19th Amendment and Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Democracy’ at the 6th Asian Constitutional Law Forum, National University of Singapore (10-11 December 2015).