The history of legal education in the country goes as far back as 1833. In that year the Supreme Court was empowered to "admit and enroll as Advocates and Proctors all such persons being of good repute..., and upon such examination by one or more of the said judges of the Supreme Court appear to be of competent knowledge and ability. There was no system of formal instructions at the time. Those aspiring to be lawyers served a period of Apprenticeship with a practicing lawyer and took the examinations. The Council of Legal Education was formed in 1873 and the Law College came into existence in 1874.

Sri Lanka Law College is one of the oldest, if not the oldest professional training body in the country. During its proud history of over a century, the College has trained nearly all the Lawyers in the country. These Lawyers have served the nation with great dedication not only in the field of law but also in various other fields such as politics, social reforms, commerce, trade unions and religion.

The Law College is administered by the Incorporated Council of Legal Education established under the Incorporated Council of Legal Education Ordinance (Chapter 476). Its Chairman is the Honourable Chief Justice. The Council is comprised of the Hon. Attorney-General, the Hon. Solicitor General, the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, Two Judges of the Supreme Court nominated by the Hon. Chief Justice, Six Members appointed by the Hon. Minister of Justice and Two Members nominated by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.