Was born in Sri Lanka in 1938, had an outstanding career in School. His form master, Mr E F C Pereira in his last years at Royal College, the leading school in Sri Lanka, said he was the best student he came across in thirty years as a teacher.
For 38 years he studied and worked in Universities in Sri Lanka, England and Australia. He obtained a first class honours degree from the University of Ceylon in 1961. Only eight students (1948 – present) have ever obtained a first class degree. In 1963 he was offered 3 prestigious and well endowed maintenance and tuition scholarships to study at the University of Cambridge in the UK and Harvard University in the US. He was also nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford. He chose the University of Cambridge where he obtained a degree of doctor of Philosophy in 1968. He later obtained a second doctors degree from the University of Colombo.
He worked in different universities as a university lecturer, professor and administrator. While employed in a University he has worked part time or in consultancy as: a quasi judicial officer, political analyst, editor of, and consulting editor to, learned journals, director of a company, broadcaster running a radio program for a short time, manager and researcher and writer of books and articles in learned journals and newspapers. He has had a life long interest in politics — but not been involved in party politics. He has studied closely the functioning of law, government, politics and society and the inter relationship between them. His books and learned articles focus on these areas.
He left Sri Lanka in 1974. He was a founding member and activist in the Civil Rights Movement which was critical of the then government. He found his position threatened and emigrated.
In 1976 he came to Australia to take up an appointment at Macquarie University, teaching Australian government and politics. He lived in Australia for 27 years and is now an Australian citizen.
He has been active in public life in Sri Lanka (1963-74) and Australia (1976-1994) making the case for the importance of ethical values, individual responsibility, freedom and common sense. He is a believer in civil liberties, but is sharply critical of much that goes under the euphemism of human rights. He has expressed concerns about individual irresponsibility, the drift away from ethical values and repressive restrictions on human action.
Over time he has authored 14 books, 65 articles in learned academic journals and over 500 articles in popular journals and newspapers.
Dr Cooray's writings have been quoted by the House of Lords, by the Indian Supreme Court, by the Sri Lankan High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and in the Parliament of Australia. Former Chief Justices of Australia, Sir Garfield Barwick and Sir Harry Gibbs and Justice C G Weeramantry of the International Court of Justice in Hague are among those who have highly commended his writings.
He delivered a paper at Windsor Castle at a meeting of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association in 1975, of which Association the Queen Mother is Patron, which allowed her to make available her mansion at Windsor Castle for the residence of the participants. As the key note speaker, Dr Cooray was given the Queen Mother’s suite — and slept in the Queen Elizabeth’s bed.
The Conference was attended by leading judges, practising lawyers, lawyers in governments and private sector and academics from all over the British Commonwealth. This included Professor William Twining, the President of the Society of Public Teachers of Law in the British Commonwealth, and the Chairman of the British Commonwealth Legal Education Association, who said Dr Cooray's paper about the relationship between language and law was an outstanding work and no one anywhere had done any research in this area before.
The Australian Freedom Coalition, a branch of the World Freedom Coalition, presented him with the Australian Valiant for Freedom Award in 1987 with citation:
"...with a rare determination, in the face of all kinds of difficulties, he has promoted the cause of freedom in his adopted country Australia — especially with his writing he has confounded radicals among academics, educationalists and the media as well as ordinary Australians, with commonsense views and challenges for all to treasure our freedom and to use it with responsibility".
He resigned from Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) in 1995 to devote his time to understanding, speaking, writing and teaching about his experiences in a very successful, fruitful and fulfilling life, for knowing the truth about and understanding many aspects of human existence, the environment and the world. He believes the ethical values of all religions are similar; the differences between belief systems (religions) rest on the source of, and what gives authority to, ethical values.
He is now working on a 14 volume series on human values, human duties and spirituality and life, including one book on what shapes and affects the growth and development of character, on the inside and the outside. Therefore with renewed vigour (youth renewed like the eagle’s), during the years ahead, through the grace of God, 14 books are being written.
The views of L J MARK COORAY on the "underlying dynamics" of the democratic tradition are stated in three books and many articles. His major works include:
The Australian Achievement: From Bondage To Freedom — Conventions The Australian Constitution And The Future The Democratic Tradition —Human Rights In Australia — Socialism In Australia — The Life And Times Of My Grandfather Sir James Peiris — The Reception In Ceylon Of The English Trust — An Introduction To The Legal System Of Sri Lanka — Reflections On The Constituent Assembly And The Constitution — The Constitutional History Of Sri Lanka 1796-1972 — Language And Law.
There are 5 other books which have been published.
The author has over the years changed his understandings and beliefs in some areas and does not stand by everything written in the past.
In the last 20 years Dr Cooray was healed miraculously (no medicines or treatment) from many sicknesses and weaknesses which he has carried from early childhood. A short testimony is available.
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