Justice Umar Ata Bandial formally named as Pakistan’s next top judge

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ISLAMABAD – President Arif Alvi has formally appointed Justice Umar Ata Bandial as the next chief justice of Pakistan.

Justice Bandial will replace incumbent CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Feb 2, 20200, following the principle of seniority in which the puisne judge becomes the top judge of the country.

CJP Gulzar Ahmed will retire on Feb 1, after two years and 42 days in office. He was appointed as country’s top judge on Dec 21, 2019.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 175(3) read with Article 177 of the Constitution, the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to appoint Mr Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the most senior judge of the Supreme Court, as chief justice of Pakistan with effect [from] Feb 2, 2022,” said the notification issued on Monday by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Justice Bandial will hold the position of chief justice for around 19 months till his retirement on September 16, 2023.

After the retirement of Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa will become the chief justice to serve this office for over one year till October 25, 2024.

Who is Justice Umar Ata Bandial?

Justice Umar Ata Bandial was born on 17.09.1958 in Lahore. He received his elementary and secondary education at different schools in Kohat, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore. He secured his B.A. (Economics) degree from Columbia University, USA followed by a Law Tripos degree from Cambridge University, UK and qualified as Barrister-at-Law from Lincoln’s Inn, London. In 1983, he was enrolled as an Advocate of the Lahore High Court and some years later, as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In his law practice at Lahore Justice Umar Ata Bandial dealt mostly with commercial, banking, tax and property matters. After 1993 until his elevation, Justice Umar Ata Bandial also handled international commercial disputes. He appeared in arbitration matters before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and also before international arbitral tribunals in London and Paris.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial was elevated as Judge of the Lahore High Court on 04.12.2004. He declined oath under PCO in November, 2007 but was restored as a Judge of the Lahore High Court as a result of the lawyers and civil society movement for revival of the Judiciary and Constitutional rule in the country. Later, he served for two years as Chief Justice, Lahore High Court until his elevation as Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan in June 2014.

During his career as Judge of the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial has rendered judgments on a number of important public law and private law issues. These include pronouncements on civil and commercial disputes, Constitutional rights and public interest matters.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial attended: a Law Seminar on International Criminal Law at Hague (2012); the Commonwealth Regional Consultative Meeting on Judicial Services Commission Model Law Kuala Lumpur (2015); and the 13th Conference of Presidents of Supreme Courts of SCO Member States at Beijing (2018).

He taught Contract Law and Torts Law at the Punjab University Law College, Lahore until 1987 and remained a member of its Graduate Studies Committee while serving as Judge Lahore High Court.

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