M Ershadul Bari
M Ershadul Bari

General Information
Former Vice-Chancellor of BOU
Law educator, legendary jurist and educationist

Full Name: Professor Dr. Muhammad Ershadul Bari

Profession: Law educator, legendary jurist and educationist

Affiliation: Bangladesh Open University

Current Position: Deceased

Date of Birth: July 01, 1952

Date of Death: November 09, 2013

Place of Birth: Bangladesh

Home District: Bogra

Nationality: Bangladeshi


M Ershadul Bari (01 July 1952 – 10 November 2013) was a Bangladeshi law educator, legendary jurist and educationist. He was a Commonwealth Academy staff scholar; Fulbright Foundation scholar; Commonwealth Academy Staff fellow; Chairman, Department of Law, University of Dhaka; Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka; Vice-Chancellor, Bangladesh Open University and Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, KL, Malaysia.

Bari was born in Bogra to Abdul Hasanat Muhammad Abdur Rashid and Abeda Khatoon. He was student of Rajshahi University and earned double MA with honors (MA in Economics and MA in Law). He also earned Bachelor of Education from the same university. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), SOAS from University of London in 1985.

Bari first joined the University of Rajshahi on 19 September 1977 and then the University of Dhaka on 4 June 1988 as a teacher of Law. He soon made his mark as a successful and effective teacher. He was the first University Law teacher in Bangladesh who obtained a Commonwealth Academic Scholarship in 1982 to carry out research for the Degree of PhD at the SOAS, University of London- the degree was awarded PhD to him in 1985. He also received a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship to undertake Post-Doctoral Research in 1993 at the same University. He, thus, had the distinction of obtaining both Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship for undertaking higher studies in London. In addition to these, Bari secured four other prestigious scholarships to receive training in different branches of Law in the USA, France, Switzerland and Singapore including the Fulbright Scholarship to receive training at the Stanford University, California in 1990.

Within one month of joining the Department of Law, University of Dhaka, Bari received appointment as the Chairman of the Department of Law, University of Dhaka on 2 July 1988. On 1 July 1991, the very day of completion of tenure as Chairman of the Department of Law, he took over as the elected Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka- a position which he held for a record consecutive more than five terms spanning nearly 11 years. During his tenure as the Dean of Law, Bari was also entrusted with responsibility of serving the Muktizoddah Ziaur Rahman Hall, a residential dormitory for students at the University of Dhaka, as its third Provost from 9 June 1994 to 08 June 1997.

Due to his reputation as a leading jurist, Bari’s expertise was sought in the drafting of various laws. In 1992, he served as an expert Member to the first ever National Labour Law Commission. He was also instrumental in the drafting of the Insolvency Act. At the international level, he was a Member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is headquartered in Switzerland, since 1997. In 1997, he received the distinct honour of being appointed by the IUCN as the Vice-Chair (South Asia) of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law. He held the said prestigious position for six years till 2003.

Bari relinquished the office of the Dean of the Faculty of Law on 10 December 2001 when the Chancellor of Bangladesh Open University appointed him as its fourth Vice-Chancellor. Prior to his appointment as the Vice-Chancellor, the academic and administrative life at the Bangladesh Open University was in disarray. Bari as Vice-Chancellor took pragmatic and timely measures for redressing the deep-rooted problems at the University. This measures included, but not limited to, securing the equivalency of the SSC and HSC programs offered by the Open University with those offered by the Educational Boards; timely publication of the results of all the programs; introduction of various academic programs such as BSc in Nursing, Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration and Public Administration (CEMBA/CEMPA), and LLB (Honours) under the auspices of a newly established School of Law; making the University’s Media Centre fully functional; and the establishment of a number of Coordinating Offices in the lands purchased by the University for the better dissemination of education to all sections of the community. These measures taken by Bari bore fruit as in March 2007 when he left the office of the Vice-Chancellor after nearly six years in office, the number of students enrolled at the Bangladesh Open University rose to nearly 10 Lacs. This was a seven and half lac increase since the time he had assumed the office of the Vice-Chancellor.

In March 2009, in recognition of his brilliant academic and administrative career, Bari received appointment as a Professor of Law at the University of Malaya, a University which is ranked 70th in the world by the prestigious QS University Rankings. Consequently, Bari joined the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, on 28 July 2009. He held the said position at the University of Malaya till his passing away on 09 November 2013. During his time at the University of Malaya, he offered two courses, i.e. International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, at the Master’s (LLM) level. He was revered by his colleagues and students at the University of Malaya for his vast knowledge and charming personality. Bari played a pivotal role in the setting-up of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. He also served as a Member of Higher Degree Committee of the Faculty of Law. In 2011, Bari on invitation from the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia delivered an expert lecture on the International Humanitarian Law to Officials of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 12 November 2013, Bari was supposed to assist the Attorney General’s Office of Malaysia as an expert in a study on death penalty.

Bari had authored a number of books and academic articles in reputed law journals, such as the Commonwealth Law Bulletin, LAWASIA Journal, Journal of Malaysian and Comparative Law, Journal of Islamic Law Review, the Law Review, on various aspects of law, including constitutional law, international human rights and humanitarian law, and Islamic law.

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