Akbar Khan is the immediate former Director of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division (LCAD) of the Commonwealth Secretariat which is an intergovernmental organisation of 54 member states. He was the Secretary-General’s principal legal adviser and was responsible for managing the Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat that promotes the rule of law in support of the Commonwealth’s mandate to enhance democracy, good governance and development in member countries. The work of the Division is multi-faceted covering both today’s pressing issues and emerging topics including essential work with member countries on questions related to legal structures and constitutional reform such as policy programmes aimed at adoption of modern and effective laws, strengthening justice institutions and processes, enhancing capacity to combat crime both domestic and international, and assisting governments in developing more effective regulatory frameworks that foster private sector development. He left this position after three years in December 2012 in order to resume his career at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
He is a British Diplomat and a member of the Legal Adviser’s Division of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK. During his term at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr Khan was on special leave of absence. His career has included substantive overseas positions as Head of the International Law Section, British Embassy, The Hague, (The Netherlands) and in various legal capacities in the United Nations Organisation based in Geneva and the Palestinian Territories. He has considerable experience in participating in and conducting multilateral negotiations and discussions. He is a qualified Barrister-at-Law called to the English Bar by Middle Temple, London and also admitted at the New York Bar as an Attorney-at law. Mr Khan completed his training at the London Chambers of 1 Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London and was in private practice for several years prior to joining the United Nations Organisation and subsequently the British Diplomatic Service. He graduated from the Universities of Cambridge, and Reading and is specialised at post-graduate level in Public International law and International Human Rights law. He is a Colombos Public International Law Prize Winner of Middle Temple Inn of Court. He has published widely and speaks on a wide range of international rule of law issues. In 2011 in recognition of his significant contribution to the progressive development of international law Mr Khan was awarded the status of ‘fellow’ by the Sierra Leone International Law institute. In 2012 he was appointed a Member of the World Economic Forum Global Council on the Rule of Law. He is also featured as one of the ‘Leaders’ on the Rule of Law by the Hague Institute on the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL). He is also a former ad hoc member of the Bar Council International Relations Committee of England and Wales and is an accredited advocacy trainer. He is married with one son.