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Chief Justice of India: Timely, cost-effective and impartial arbitration ecosystem - key to making India a global arbitration hub

Dec 09, 2017

NEW DELHI, 9 December 2017: Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice Dipak Misra has suggested a model for ensuring timely, cost-effective and impartial arbitration ecosystem in the country, which can make India a global hub of arbitration.

Justice Misra said in his inaugural address at the ICA-FICCI "International conference: Arbitration in the Era of Globalisation" today that, "while talking about court-annexed arbitration, I must say I am in favour of institutional arbitration like ICA, MCA and whatever they are having throughout the country ... the shift has to be towards institutional arbitration, there is a need and there is a purpose. When you are handling a complex economy, there has to be a structural adjudication of disputes".

He stressed that, "In the US, UK and other progressive countries, they have realised and we have also realised that the best way to serve commercial disputes are not the court litigations, there has to be alternate dispute resolution system".

Justice Misra said, "India has to grow to have its own arbitral system -  so that the people from other jurisdictions get attracted to have arbitration proceedings in India".

He pointed out that sometimes the business agreements are so drafted by the companies that the concept of jurisdiction shifts from India to outside, and said "...that is your choice. Nobody can impose a contractual choice on you, but if you are doing business, you must look after the interest of the country".

Justice Misra also made it clear that an essential element of a robust arbitration system would be ensuring minimum interference and maximum executability.

"A stage has come where investment can come when we can really inculcate faith among the investors that we have a very good, excellent arbitration system," he added.

Justice Misra elaborated that timely, cost-effective and impartial arbitration must be an integral part of such a system.

In his welcome address, Mr. NG Khaitan, President, ICA stated that while India has improved in ease of doing business ranking, it still ranks low on enforcing contracts. "The cost of enforcing contracts in India at 31% is way higher than 10 to 15% prevalent in developed nations".

Mr. Khaitan stressed on promotion of institutional arbitration and having an inbuilt arbitration clause in bilateral investment treaties. He also highlighted the need to permit foreign arbitrators to operate in the country and imposing a limit on the number of cases an arbitrator can take in a year to ensure a speedy resolution of disputes.

Secretary General FICCI and Director General of ICA, Dr. Sanjaya Baru said in his concluding address, "We would like to bring whatever (arbitration) is done currently around the world, back home. As India globalises, one of the consequences have been the globalisation of arbitration, and we would like to bring back and retain that business in India, and strengthen India as the hub of arbitration, not just for Indian companies, but for companies around this entire region. We want to make India a big centre of arbitration, and FICCI is dedicated to that cause".

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