Akhtar Imam

Professional Qualifications:

  • 1970, Barrister-at-Law, Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, UK
  • 1976, Advocate, High Court Division, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 2001, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Academic Qualifications:

  • 1965, B.A. Hons, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 1966, M.A., University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 1967, LLB Hons, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 1973, LLM, Kings College, University of London, UK

Some Directorships:

  • Former Director, Singer Bangladesh
  • Former Director, Pran Group
  • Former Chairman and current Director, Marie Stopes Bangladesh

Some Positions Held:

  • Lecturer, Comparative Legal Theory, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • President, Barristers’ Association of Bangladesh
  • President, Rotary Club of Dhaka New City
  • President of Lincoln’s Inn Students’ Union, UK
  • First General Secretary, Barristers’ Association of Bangladesh, UK

Ranked in International Legal Directories:

  • Chambers and Partners (Asia Pacific): 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
For 40 years, Barrister Akhtar Imam has stood for excellence in legal service. He is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and is regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts in company, commercial, banking, labour, employment and constitutional law. He has been consistently ranked as a leading lawyer in renowned international legal directories like Chambers and Partners (Asia Pacific) and Legal 500. He specializes in litigation, corporate advisory work and commercial arbitration. Having enjoyed a successful law practice at the Bar of England and Wales for 10 years, he moved to Bangladesh and founded the firm, Akhtar Imam & Associates in 1980.

Over the years he has advised clients like Facebook, the Bangladesh Bank (central bank), Pubali Bank Limited (largest private commercial bank), Grameenphone (largest telecom operator), Biman Bangladesh Airlines (national flag carrier), British American Tobacco Bangladesh, Visa Inc, DFID and Globe Pharmaceutical Group of Companies Limited. As director in the boards of multinationals like Singer Bangladesh and Pran Group (largest food and beverages company in Bangladesh) and Marie Stopes Bangladesh (a concern of Marie Stopes International, an international NGO spanning 37 countries), he provided leadership and strategic guidance. He was the longest serving Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marie Stopes Bangladesh. During his illustrious career he has and continues to act as both counsel and amicus curiae in ground-breaking cases in the constitutional history of Bangladesh, high profile company law litigation and landmark mergers and acquisitions.


Representative Matters:

Commercial Arbitration
  • International Commercial Arbitration under the Arbitration Act, 2001: Represented ABB India Limited (a leading engineering multinational, which helps customers to use electrical power effectively and to increase industrial productivity in a sustainable way), as senior counsel in an arbitration application in the High Court and in arbitration proceedings against Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited (PGCB), the sole electric power transmission organization in Bangladesh, owned by the government, challenging imposition by PGCB of liquidated damages equivalent to on ABB for alleged violation of the contract between the parties due to delayed performance of contractual obligations. The contract was for Design, Supply, Erection, Testing and Commissioning of 132KV Transmission Lines and Substations on Turnkey basis in 10 areas across the country.
  • Representing GBB Power Ltd. in an arbitration against a government owned gas company (Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited) before the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) arbitral tribunal in relation to a contractual dispute regarding supply of gas, valued at Tk. 20,00,00,000 (Twenty crores taka).
  • Representing Travel Trade Ltd. in an arbitration relating to a number of disputes between TTL and Gulf Air of Bahrain arising out of an Exclusive General Sales Agency Agreement, in particular, incentives and commissions on sale of tickets to the tune of USD 63 million.
Banking & Finance
  • Pubali Bank Ltd. (the largest private commercial bank in Bangladesh): Representing the bank in a court case against the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), the stock market regulator, challenging the legality of SEC’s consent to capital issue granted to Unique Hotel & Resorts Ltd “negligently” and in “undue haste” and alleging complete failure on the part of the regulator to discharge its statutory duties to regulate pre-IPO placements and protect investor’s interests; the bank is personally aggrieved to the tune of approximately Tk. 42.5 million by buying Unique Hotel’s pre-IPO placement shares relying on the consent; advised the bank on numerous issues including shareholder-management disputes under the Companies Act 1994, under the Bank Companies Act, Artha Rin Adadlot Ain, etc.
  • Sonali Bank Ltd. (the largest state owned commercial bank in Bangladesh): Advised the bank on their legal obligations under international Letters of Credit following the Hallmark-Sonali Bank scam, the country’s biggest banking scam involving thousands of crores of taka;
  • The City Bank: Represented the bank in multiple court cases over the years under the Banking Companies Act, the Artha Rin Adalot Ain 2003 & Income Tax Ordinance 1984;
  • Bangladesh Bank: Advised the central bank on many legal issues and court cases;
  • Arab Bangladesh Bank Limited: Internal restructuring of Arab Bangladesh Bank Limited in compliance with Bangladesh Bank’s notifications.
  • Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited and Bangladesh Commerce Bank Securities and Investments Limited (CBSIL): Advised the bank and CBSIL on CDBL Byelaws and SEC Laws.
  • Bangladesh Shilpa Bank (now Bangladesh Development Bank): Advised the bank on many legal issues ranging from loan & security documentation review and cases under the Artha Rin Adalot Ain.
  • Farmers Bank Limited: Advised the bank on procedure of board reconstruction and change of name of the bank.
  • Filed numerous writ petitions against the Bangladesh Bank on behalf of leading business clients for illegal inclusion of their names in the Credit Information Bureau’s list of loan defaulters.
Lead consultant for Department for International Development (DFID) funded projects: 
  • Conducted a comprehensive review of the legal framework in Bangladesh for the establishment of a Credit Information Bureau for Microfinance (CIB-MF); interviewed all stakeholders including heads of microfinance institutions, Microcredit Regulatory Authority (the regulator), and the Bangladesh Bank and prepared a report suggesting amendments to existing laws, rules and regulations to facilitate the establishment of CIB- MF.
  • Optimal legal form for the Microfinance Development Centre’s (“MDC”) institutional development, to enable MDC to become an independent, sustainable and permanent training institution;
  • Reviewed the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of the Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) to ascertain whether the Memo helps deliver the intended roles, which is an independent body under the joint collaboration of the Government and the private sector for trade capacity building in Bangladesh;
  • World Bank (WB) Sanctions Proceedings: Advised and successfully represented Globe Pharmaceuticals Group of Companies in World Bank (WB) Sanctions Proceedings accusing them of a sanctionable practice (fraudulent practice by submitting false experience certificate as part of its bid for a WB-financed contract for supply of Vitamin A capsules); the outcome of the proceedings was critical for Globe as a negative outcome would have meant debarment of Globe from not only all WB financed projects but also from projects financed by ADB and a number of other multilateral development banks (MDBs) pursuant to an Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions between these MDBs;
  • Lead advisor to a multinational in relation to its proposed acquisition of the entire passive mobile telecom infrastructure of one of the largest mobile telecom operators in Bangladesh: this deal was set to become the first of its kind in Bangladesh 
  • Lead advisor to the majority shareholders of Sheba Telecom in relation to its acquisition by Egyptian telecom giant Orascom Telecom Holding: first international acquisition in the telecom sector in Bangladesh 
  • Advised Marie Stopes International (international NGO spanning 37 countries) in setting up their operations in Bangladesh and the best legal structure to adopt to expand their operations in Bangladesh; regularly advise Marie Stopes Bangladesh on corporate (like company incorporation and inter-group amalgamation) and compliance (like regulatory approval for funding) and various other issues arising out of the legal and regulatory framework for foreign funded NGOs in Bangladesh.
Company Litigation
  • Represented Chairman of BNS Group of Companies in company litigation before the High Court Division and the Appellate Division of Bangladesh in relation to a dispute of ownership of shares in a company that owns a popular private TV channel, called Boishakhi TV in Bangladesh
  • Lead Counsel in the shareholders dispute in Ittefaque Group of Publications, the largest-circulating national daily Bengali newspaper.
  • Management dispute of Green Planet Resorts Ltd, owner of The Palace Luxury Resort
  • Management dispute of Six Seasons Hotels
  • Management dispute of Dhaka Regency Hotel and Resort
Litigation (Constitutional Law)
  • Lead Counsel for Grameenphone in a High Court case (writ petition) challenging the regulator, Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) imposition of an administrative fine of Tk. 30,00,00,000 (thirty crores taka) on GP for providing internet broadband services by allegedly flouting rules through its sister concern, Go Broadband.
  • Appointed Senior Counsel in the high profile and controversial case challenging the legality of a Ruling passed by the Speaker in National Parliament stating that a High Court Judge has violated the Constitution
  • Appointed Senior Counsel in the landmark constitutional law case that challenged the legality of the bifurcation of the Dhaka City Corporation
  • Acted as senior counsel in the landmark case that held the 5th Amendment to the Constitution illegal.
  • Successfully defended our country’s international airline, Biman Bangladesh, in multiple law suits filed by over 1000 former employees challenging Biman’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).
Amicus curiae
  • Appointed as amicus curiae in the high-profile case of demolition of headquarters of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers Association (BGMEA) for being built on land acquired through forgery and earth filled illegally;
  • Appointed as amicus curiae in a writ petition challenging the validity of insertion of Islam as a state religion by the 8th amendment to the Constitution.
  • Acted as amicus curiae in the landmark high court case that declared illegal the constitution of a military tribunal by General Ziaur Rahman’s martial law regime in 1976, to try the detained Colonel Abu Taher and his associates against sedition charges. It also dismissed Taher’s subsequent trial and execution in July of that year as a farce, and noted that Taher and everyone else tried in 1976 would henceforth be considered patriots rather than as traitors.