Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud is one of the foremost personalities in the legal community of Bangladesh. Born on 14 July 1946 in Chittagong, Barrister Mahmud obtained his M.A. and LL.B degrees from the University of Dhaka in 1967 before leaving for the United Kingdom in 1968 for studying for the Bar. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1972 and became enrolled as Advocate with the Bangladesh Bar Council in 1973. Barrister Mahmud obtained an LL.M with Cum Laude in International and Comparative University of Brussels in Belgium.
Barrister Mahmud began his practice in 1976 in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He was also an associate of the late Barrister Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed. He became a Senior Advocate in 1994. Over the past three and half decades, he has established a reputation as one of the leading Advocates of Bangladesh, specializing in constitutional, public, administrative, commercial and corporate laws. Barrister Mahmud has appeared in numerous important cases of constitutional significance before both the Appellate and High Court Divisions of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, and is regularly called upon by different Benches to provide his counsel as an Amicus Curie or “Friend of the Court”.
Noted for his expertise on corporate, regulatory and taxation matters and labour law issues, Barrister Mahmud has acted as a legal advisor to leading multinational companies, local business houses, banks and financial institutions and foreign missions in Bangladesh. He has been on the Board of Directors of public companies listed in the Dhaka and Chittagong Stock Exchanges. Presently, he is a Director of Holcim (Bangladesh) Ltd. and Bata Shoe Company (Bangladesh) Ltd. as a nominee of foreign investors. Barrister Mahmud is also a Director of the Bangladesh Chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
He has appeared as counsel in various international arbitrations and investment disputes, including arbitrations under the auspices of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and ICC Arbitration, in addition to acting both as counsel and arbitrator in commercial arbitrations in Bangladesh. Barrister Mahmud was also a member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC in Paris (2000-2005).
Barrister Mahmud has had the distinction of being a legal expert on the Bangladesh Government’s Delegations to the 39th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York in 1984 and the 45th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in 1989, before being the Alternate Leader of the Delegation to 46th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in 1990.
Barrister Mahmud visited Japan on the invitation of the Japanese Government in 1987 in its Leadership Exchange Program and in 1997 in its Democracy Program. He is also a former Research Fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA) and was an Associate Editor of the publication “Legal Aspects of the New International Economic Order-an Asian Perspective” published by BILIA.
Barrister Mahmud was elected as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association for two consecutive terms (2003-2004 and 2004-2005) and as the Vice Chairman of the Bangladesh Bar Council (2004-2007). He was also a member of the Bangladesh Bar Council between 2001 and 2004.
Barrister Mahmud’s role as a leader of the Bar in protecting the independence of the judiciary, fighting corruption and unwarranted political influence within the legal system as well as for establishing transparency and accountability in the process of appointments of judges of the Supreme Court and upholding the dignity and reputation of the legal profession, has been widely publicized and lauded in the national print and electronic news media.
Renowned and respected for his articulate and forthright views on constitutional and political issues of national importance, Barrister Mahmud’s comments are frequently quoted by the media, and he regularly appears as a guest in talk shows and news and current affairs programmes on television.
Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud is married and has been blessed with two children. His son, Rifat, is a banker in Zurich, Switzerland, while his daughter Sarah has followed his footsteps in becoming a Barrister of Middle Temple and presently practices in Sydney, Australia.