Sunday, May 27, 2012

Prof Yash Pal Ghai CBE

The legal expert with broad expertise in constitutional matters was born in 1938 in Nairobi. Many Kenyans remember him as the chair of the Constitution of Kenya Review commission (CKRC), a commission he led from 2000 to 2004. He’s the current Director of Katiba Institute and a member of the advisory board of the Asian Commission of Human Rights.
 On 9th March 2012, Fiji Leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced that he would head a five member Constitutional commission tasked to draft a new constitution for Fiji.

He earned a BA (1961), MA (1990) and DCL (1992) degrees from Oxford University. He was called to the English bar from Middle Temple in 1962 where he was a barrister and received an LL.M from Harvard University in 1963.

He has been a visiting fellow and professor at numerous universities throughout the world.
He was a professor of public law at the University of Warwick (1978-89, 1992-97).
In 1971-73, he was at Yale Law School as a senior fellow and lecturer. He also served as director of research at the International Legal Center in New York (1972-73).
In 1989, he was appointed Sir Y.K. Pao professor of public law by the University of Hong Kong.
In 2005, he was made a fellow of the British Academy.
In November 2005, he was appointed as the UN special representative for human rights in Cambodia by the then Secretary General.
In 2007, he became the chair of the Constitution Advisory Support Unit of the United Nations Development Programme in Nepal. He was also elected by the Fijian Military Government to be the head of Fiji’s Constitutional Committee.
Prof. Ghai has many publications with deep interest in constitutional law. Some of his books include ‘Hong Kong’s New Constitutional Order: The Resumption of Chinese Sovereignty and Basic Law,
‘Public Law and Political Change in Kenya (with JP WB McAuslan)’,
‘Autonomy and Ethnicity: Negotiating Competing Claims in Multi-Ethnic States’, and ‘The Political Economy of Law: A Third World Reader (with Luckhan and Snyder)’
 Awards to his name include
In 1981, he was honored with a Commander of the British Empire (CBE)
Independence Medal (Papua New Guinea) (1976)
In 1980, Independence Medal (Vanautu) and Queen’s Medal for Distinguished Service (New Hebrides)
In 1995, a Honorary Doctorate from the University of the South Pacific
Honorary Fellow, The Society for Advanced Legal Studies (1997)
In 1998, the Law Society of Kenya awarded with a Honorary Life Member.
In 2001, University of Hong Kong honored him with a Distinguished Research Achievement Award.


  1. A Prophet is not recognized in his own home,recognized world wide.Its amazing he has a CBE Commander Of British Empire.I hope in Kenya the president can honor him with Elder of Golden Heart.

  2. truth be said Kenyan leaders ignore people who have done great things like yash pal ghai in constitution making and honor their close ally or kins than people who have done marvelous...kudos to yash pal ghai C.B.E we salute you prof and adore your work.


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