Dato Param Cumaraswamy is a barrister-at-law at Inner Temple, London, and an Advocate and Solicitor in Kuala Lumpur. He was President of the Malaysian Bar (1986-1988) and a founding member of the Bar Council’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Committees. He is a life member of the Law Association of Asia and the Pacific and served as its President from 1993-1995. Since 1990, he has been a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, of which he once served as Vice-President (2004-2005). In 1994, he was appointed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers by the UN Commission on Human Rights and served on that mandate until 2003. He is a founder member of the Regional Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism of which he is currently a co-chair.
He received the International Peace and Justice Award from the Irish American Unity Conference in 1999, and the Justice in the World Award from the International Association of Judges in 2002. In September 2005, he received the Peter Gruber Foundation’s Justice Prize at the University of Columbia Law School, New York.
In 2003, he was called to the Bench of the Honorable Society of the Middle Temple in London as an Honorary Bencher. In the same year, he was conferred Honorary Membership to the Law Society of England and Wales. In 1987, he was conferred Honorary Membership to the Law Society of New Zealand.