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Ehsan Abdullah Siddiq

Ehsan Siddiq practises arbitration, banking, company, commercial, employment and insurance law in Bangladesh. He advises a  number of foreign companies on labour issues and offer of stock options.  He also regularly represents business houses, banks and financial institutions before the District Courts and the Supreme Court.

Professional Qualifications:

2004: Enrolled as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.

2002: Called to the Bar of England and Wales from the Hon’ble Society of Gray’s Inn.

Academic Qualifications:

LLB (Hons.), London School of Economics and Political Science.

Work Experience:

2006-present       Senior Associate, The Law Counsel, Chambers of Abdur Razzaq, Barrister-at-Law, Senior Advocate.       

2002-2005          Associate, Huq and Company, Chambers of Rafique-ul Huq, Barrister-at-Law, Senior Advocate, Former Attorney General of Bangladesh.

Practice Areas:

Arbitration, Banking, Insurance, Constitutional Law, Corporate Law, Employment, Government Contracts, International Criminal Law and Taxation. 

Particulars of Work Experience:

Arbitration

Conducted arbitration proceedings on behalf of a number of local and foreign companies, firms and NGOs, including CARE-Bangladesh, Dunham-Bush Sdn. Bhd of Malaysia, BD Foods Limited and the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. Also challenged and defended arbitral awards before the High Court Division.

Notable Cases: 

Uzbekistan Airways v Airspan Ltd. (High Court Division) reported in 10 Bangladesh Law Chronicles 614. Represented a local travel agent in proceedings where arbitration in Uzbekistan were successfully prevented from being initiated on the ground that legal proceedings had already been initiated in Bangladesh. This was one of the first cases under the Arbitration Act, 2001 which settled the law that if the seat of arbitration is fixed outside Bangladesh, then legal proceedings before the local courts are not barred.

Brothers Construction Company v Sea and Oilfield Services Ltd. (High Court Division). Represented a local construction firm in proceedings where a foreign company was successfully prevented from removing its equipment from Bangladesh during arbitration proceedings. 

Smith Co-generation (Bangladesh) Private Ltd. v Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) (High Court Division). Represented a foreign company in proceedings where an attempt by the BPDB to set aside an ICC award was successfully prevented.

International Seafood Ltd. v B.D. Corporation (High Court Division).  Successfully represented a local food processing company where legal proceedings initiated despite the existence an arbitration clause were held to be valid. The legal proceedings were not set aside, but were suspended for the duration of the arbitration proceedings.

Bangladesh Power Development Board v Arab Contractors (BD) Ltd. (High Court Division). Represented the state run electricity provider in challenging an award passed by a local arbitral tribunal.  An appeal from this case is now pending before the Appellate Division.

Banking & Insurance:

Drafting security documents, syndicated finance documents and other legal instruments for banks and financial institutions. Represented banks in a number of cases before the High Court Division and the Loan Recovery Courts. Provided legal assistance for the conversion of conventional banks to Islamic banks.

Notable Cases:

Rubya Vegetable Oil Ind. Ltd. v Bangladesh Bank and ors (High Court Division). Representing Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, the largest private sector bank, in an application for judicial review, where the very basis of Islamic banking has been challenged. 

First Security Bank Ltd. (FSBL) v Registrar of Companies (High Court Division). Represented FSBL in obtaining approval for the bank’s conversion from the conventional to Islamic banking system.

M. Saber Afzal v Bangladesh Bank­ and ors (High Court Division). Successfully challenged the credit rating of an individual by Bangladesh Bank on the ground that he was a guarantor and not a borrower of a loan facility. This decision prompted the Government to change the law to bring guarantors within the fold of the definition of loan defaulters.

Reliance Insurance Ltd.  v Amin Fish Farms and Ind. Ltd. (High Court Division). Successfully represented an insurance company in an appeal against an insurance claim of BDT 17,163,623.52.

Ravino Ltd. v Bangladesh Bank and ors (High Court Division). Successfully represented an insurance company against a claim that the insurance company was liable for the low credit rating of the insured as it (i.e. insured) had defaulted in its loan repayments because the insurance claim had not been honoured.

Catherine Masud v Md. Kashed Miah and ors  (High Court Division). Representing an insurance company against a claim lodged by the heirs of the deceased in a motor vehicle accident. This case will determine the extent of the liability of insurance companies in Bangladesh in case of fatal accidents.

Provati Insurance Ltd.  v The Chairman, Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority and ors, (High Court Division). Representing an insured food processing company in relation to an insurance claim of BDT. 24,910,000.

Shahi Chira Mills v Bangladesh Co-operative Insurance Company Limited and ors (Arbitration), Representing a food processing company in relation to a compensation claim against the insurance company for losses arising out of a failure to make payment within time.

Company Law:

Drafted and appeared in applications for altering the Memorandum of companies, mergers, liquidation, rectification of share registers and minority protection.

Notable Cases:

Deep Sea Navigators Ltd. and ors v Registrar, Joint Stock Companies and Firms and anor (High Court Division).  Represented shareholders in an application for rectification of the share register of the company.

Md. Akter Hossain v Capital Tower (Pvt.) Ltd. (High Court Division), reported in 7 Law Guardian 265. Successfully represented 4 shareholder-directors in a minority protection application before the High Court Division, whereupon a court-appointed Chairman oversaw the operations of the Board for 6 months and reported on misappropriation.

Kazi Faruque Uddin Ahmed v Homeland Life Insurance Co. Ltd. (High Court Division). Successfully defended an insurance company and its board of directors  in an application for minority protection.

Constitutional Matters

Appeared in a number of cases where the government violated the human rights of citizens

Notable Cases:

Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee v Bangladesh and ors  (High Court Division), reported in 18 Bangladesh Law Times 188. Obtained an order from the court allowing Mr. Sayedee to travel outside Bangladesh, after the Home Ministry had imposed restrictions on his travel abroad.

Abdul Quader Mollah and anor. v Bangladesh and ors  (High Court Division). Successfully represented 2 on-trial prisoners who were being refused proper facilities in jail.

Employment Law:   

Drafted tailor-made employment contracts for foreign and local companies. Provided employment related advice to a number of newspapers including the Jai Jai Din, Amar Desh and the Naya Diganta. Was a member of the legal team that negotiated a settlement between the employees and the previous management of Jai Jai Din. Appeared before the Labour Appellate Tribunal and the High Court Division on behalf of both employees and employers. Recently, was involved in and won a landmark case on behalf of employees before the High Court Division involving participation in profits by employees of Unilever. The judgment prompted Parliament in 2013 to introduce changes to the Labour Act, 2006. Provided legal advice to various foreign companies in relation to the offer of Restricted Stock Units, phantom shares, etc. to employees of their subsidiaries in Bangladesh.

Notable Cases

Golam Sarowar v Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and ors (High Court Division). Successfully represented a former employee of the BJMC  against an attempt by the employer to adjust losses suffered by the BJMC (during the tenure of the employee’s employment) against termination benefits payable to the employee.

K. M. Mufazzal  Hossain v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division).  Successfully represented an employee in a claim for back-wages after he was re-instated in service upon being summarily dismissed by the Martial Law Authority. The success in this application prompted others to file similar cases which were also decided in favour of the employees.

Mehedi Hasan (Md) and ors v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division) reported in 19 Bangladesh Law Chronicles 472. Successfully represented employees of Unilever (Bangladesh) Limited in preventing an attempt to reduce the extent of their participation in the profits of the company.

Md. Mosharraf Hossain and anor v. Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division and Appellate Division) reported in 32 Bangladesh Legal Decisions (App. Div.) 67. Successfully  represented employees of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh  in securing a higher pay scale.

Md. Abdus Sattar and ors v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division). Representing  Personal Officers (i.e. government officers) in relation to their entitlement to be posted at various Embassies and High Commissions of Bangladesh abroad.

Foreign Exchange:

Advised a number of companies and firms including Bloomberg LP on the foreign exchange restrictions in Bangladesh.

Govt. Contracts, Tenders, Licences: 

Advised both foreign and local companies in relation to government contracts and tenders. Conducted judicial review applications against a number of major state-run corporations, including Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) and Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC) in relation to non-compliance with tender conditions. Advised Northrop Grumman with regard to the sale of equipment to the Bangladesh Air Force. Also advised various ammunition suppliers in relation to the role of the Office of the Director-General of  Defence Purchase and the Ministry of Defence.  Verified contracts for a foreign supplier  for the sale of helicopters to the Bangladesh Navy. Appeared before the Review Panel of the Planning Ministry (which  is a special body dealing with disputes arising out of Govt. Tenders). Recently appeared on behalf of the International Container Terminal Services Inc. of the Philippines against the Chittagong Port Authority  in relation to the tender for the New Mooring Container Terminal.

Notable Cases:

Md. Abidur Rahman v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division). Representing a client in relation to irregularities by the Road and Highways Department in conducting a tender for toll collection over a bridge.

The Siddique Limited v Chittagong Development Authority and ors (High Court Division). Successfully represented the Chittagong Development Authority against a challenge by the lease-holder of the cancellation of a long term lease of an industrial plot.

United Landport Teknaf Limited v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division). Successfully represented a tour operator (operating from a private jetty) against an attempt made by the government-approved jetty operator to compel it to use its jetties.

Shah Abdul Hannan v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division). Successfully represented a hospital in respect of an attempt by the Road and Highways Department to build a road over its land.

Md. Ajmal Hossain Khan and ors. v Bangladesh and ors (High Court Division). Successfully represented inhabitants of a village against an attempt by the Government to evict them.

International Criminal Law: 

Worked with a team of lawyers from 9 Bedford Row, London in defending the leaders of a political party who were being tried for war crimes. Defended Mr. Md. Kamaruzzaman before the International Crimes Tribunal-2, Bangladesh against allegations of crimes against humanity. The judgment of the Tribunal was the first in Bangladesh to deal with the issues of joint criminal enterprise and superior responsibility for international crimes. Was also part of the defence team of Abdul Quader Molla before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. The judgment of the Supreme Court was the first in Bangladesh dealing with the scope and applicability of customary international law.

Notable Cases:

Chief Prosecutor, International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka v  Mohammad Kamaruzzaman. Acted as defence counsel.

For arguments see:

http://bangladeshtrialobserver.org/tag/kamaruzzaman/page/2/

For judgment see:

ict-bd.org/ict2/ICT2%20judgment/MKZ.pdf       

Chief Prosecutor, International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka v  Maulana Abdus Sobhan. Acted as defence counsel. 

For judgment see: 

ict-bd.org/ict2/ICT2%20judgment/Judgement-Sobhan.pdf

Income Tax, VAT, Customs etc:

Conducted litigation on behalf of and against the National Board of Revenue.  Drafted and conducted Income Tax Reference Applications. Advised and appeared on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, agro-processing companies and banks in relation to income tax disputes.  Also appeared before the High Court Division on behalf of a number of Universities, including, North South University and the International Islamic University Chittagong in relation to their tax exemptions.

Notable Cases:              

BD Foods Limited v National Board of Revenue and ors (High Court Division).  Representing a company against the cancellation of a 5 year income tax holiday by the National Board of Revenue.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited v Deputy Commissioner of Taxes (High Court Division). Represented a Shariah-based bank in relation to treatment of Zakat as an allowable expenditure and hence exemption from income tax.

Ibn Sina v National Board of Revenue (High Court Division). Represented a private medial institution against the imposition of VAT.

Publications:                                   

Bangladesh Withdraws from Customary International Law: The Practical Implications of Trifling with Custom, Journal of Politics and Law (2014) Vol 4 at 163, http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/jpl/article/view/39728/23164  

A Critique of the Feminist Movement in Bangladesh: The failure to protect women against “revenge porn”, University of Asia Pacific Journal of Law and Policy, August 2015 at 45.

 

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