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Official Biography

Gopal Subramanium is a former Solicitor General of India and Senior Advocate at the Indian Supreme Court

Gopal Subramanium

The Official Biography of Gopal Subramanium

Gopal Subramanium is a global lawyer, international arbitrator, and academic. He is a Senior Advocate who practises at the Indian Supreme Court, a former Solicitor General of India, and a noted scholar on legal philosophy, constitutional law and human rights theory.

An academic who has long been involved in research into mental health, Mr. Subramanium founded the Subramanium Study Centre in 2020, a research centre in Oxford, UK that hosts his interdisciplinary research, academic and legal work. The Centre seeks to advance the understanding of mental health disorders by bringing together experts from a variety of fields and providing a foundation for interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Noted for his work within legal philosophy, writing on democracy, social inequality, civic education and the applicability of psychology to legal concepts, he was elected a Foundation Fellow of Somerville College, the University of Oxford in 2019. 

He was born in 1958 in Bangalore, India. He splits his time between London, Oxford, and New Delhi. 

Gopal Subramanium, lawyer and academic

Licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Legal career

Gopal Subramanium is a world-leading lawyer, international arbitrator, and distinguished jurist. He is Head of Chambers at the Chambers of Gopal Subramanium, a globally-operating chambers based in New Delhi, India. For over 30 years, he has acted in numerous cases that have shaped legislative principles on privacy, human rights and freedom of speech internationally.

Mr. Subramanium continues to act as lead counsel in several path-breaking matters. He has acted for companies including Amazon, Google, Novartis, and appeared as lead counsel for corporates in ICC and domestic arbitrations.

Mr. Subramanium served as Solicitor General of India from 2009 to 2011, during which period he was also Chairman of the Bar Council of India. From 2005 to 2009, he served as Additional Solicitor General of India. In 2009, Mr. Subramanium was conferred the National Law Day Award for Outstanding Jurist by the President of India.

Having trained under former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, Mr. Subramanium was designated a Senior Advocate suo-motu by the Supreme Court in 1993, one of the youngest in India’s history to receive the designation, where he developed a reputation for his rigorous style. For over 30 years, he has acted in numerous cases that have shaped legislative principles on privacy, human rights and freedom of speech internationally.

In 1991-1992, Mr. Subramanium acted as counsel to the Judicial Commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma to inquire into security lapses leading to the assassination of the former Prime Minister of India, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. In 1993, he acted as prosecuting counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India in the trial of persons accused of setting off a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai. He continues to serve as the CBI’s lead counsel until 2012 when appeals from the trial were heard by the Supreme Court.

In 2001, Mr. Subramanium acted as the Special Public Prosecutor in the case involving a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. 

As Solicitor General in 2010, he successfully defended the conviction of the sole surviving terrorist of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. He also acted for petitioners in a historic case that held there is a fundamental constitutional right to privacy in India. 

In 2013, Mr. Subramanium served on the JS Verma Commission, which recommended amendments to Indian laws to safeguard the safety and dignity of women and children. During the same year, he set up a UK office and was appointed an Associate Member at 3 Verulam Buildings

In 2015, he was appointed a Supplementary Judge at the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Tribunal.

Mr. Subramanium is a leading international commercial arbitrator who has appeared in several matters before the Indian Supreme Court and various High Courts concerning the arbitrability of disputes, the appointment of arbitrators, and challenges to arbitral awards.

Mr. Subramanium, while seeking enforcement of the International Arbitral Award in the dispute involving the sale of Ranbaxy to Daiichi Sankyo Company Limited, was one of the first Indian Senior Advocates to appear before the High Court of Singapore in April 2018. He then went on to become the first Indian Senior Advocate to appear before the Singapore Court of Appeal in February 2020.

He is Honorary Master of the Bench at The Honourable Society Gray's Inn. He studied Law at the University of Delhi from 1977 to 1980.

In March 2021, he was called to the Bar of England and Wales.

Academic work

Gopal Subramanium is an academic and scholar noted for his work within legal philosophy, writing on democracy, social inequality, civic education, and the applicability of psychology to legal concepts. 

He is also a psychologist and sociologist, who has long been involved in the research into mental health disorders including clinical depression, Alzheimer's, and schizophrenia. 

In 2019, Mr. Subramanium was elected a Foundation Fellow at Somerville College, University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of New Delhi and an Honorary Adjunct Professor at Jindal Global Law School.

In 2020, he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in the UK. 

In August 2020, Mr. Subramanium founded and opened the Subramanium Study Centre in Oxford. Located at the Prince of Wales International Centre, which was opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles in 2003, the brand-new Centre, that hosts Mr. Subramanium's interdisciplinary research, academic, and legal work. Principally, the Centre seeks to advance the understanding of mental health disorders by bringing together experts from a variety of fields and providing a foundation for inter-disciplinary collaboration. 

The opening of the Centre focuses on delivering Mr. Subramanium's mission of breaking down the barriers between disciplines and sharing knowledge. 

Mr. Subramanium is represented by Chartwell Speakers. Click here to view his speaker profile.

Philanthropy

Gopal Subramanium is a passionate supporter of the arts, music, education, and mental health causes. 

Mr. Subramanium has been a long-time supporter of Somerville College, University of Oxford believing the interdisciplinary environment at Somerville provides a fertile environment for research across boundaries. In 2019, he was elected a Foundation Fellow, the highest honour awarded by the College for philanthropy. 

As a benefactor of the College, he has supported and funded various projects and initiatives for the benefit of Somerville students. He supported the postgraduate studies of outstanding students from India to help strengthen the flourishing ties between Somerville and the Indian subcontinent. He has also endowed the Gopal Subramanium Scholarships, in honour of his teacher His Holiness Shri. Bharati Tirtha, the first of which is currently held by Aradhana Vadekkethil (2017, Jurisprudence), and funds postgraduate study of Indian legal policy. Ms Vadekkethil’s research focuses on rape adjudication and prosecution in India.

Mr. Subramanium also supported the Somerville's choir’s tour of India in December 2018, which featured concerts and workshops with disadvantaged children in Goa and Mumbai.

Mr. Subramanium is also a Classical Music Patron at Southbank Centre; Ambassador of mental health charity SANE; and Honorary Director of the All India Heart Foundation, the leading cardiac charity.

Disclaimer & confirmation

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