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Need for setting up a dedicated and specialized Arbitration Bar - Chief Justice of India

Feb 08, 2020

  • Arbitration is not meant to mirror litigation


NEW DELHI, 8 February 2020: Hon'ble Mr Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, today said that arbitration is not meant to mirror litigation.

Speaking at the ICA's '3rd International Conference on Arbitration In The Era of Globalization', organized at FICCI, Justice Bobde said that Institutional arbitration has met with limited success in India. It is a well-known fact that Indian parties still show a strong preference for adhoc over institutional arbitration, he added.

The Chief Justice of India said it is clear that for institutional arbitration to expand its footprint in India, it would require concerted support from all stakeholders, in particular members of the legal profession.

"A robust arbitration bar is critical to the development of institutional arbitration in India as it would ensure availability and accessibility of practitioners with knowledge and experience in the field of arbitration," said Justice Bobde.

He added that with the sheer diversity and quantum of matters being submitted to arbitration, presence of a specialist arbitration bar with members who have not migrated from the general bar, who are working in close coordination with competent arbitral institutions is imperative.

Justice Bobde, while emphasizing on adopting the Artificial Intelligence said, "As we conceptualize international arbitration in a globalized era, we must also be cognizant of the synergistic opportunities available for international arbitration through utilization of disruptive technologies."

He further said, "Pre-litigation mediation is critical to resolve disputes and reduce the stress on courts and the judicial system. We must structure courses and programmes to certify professionals in mediation."

Justice Bobde added, "Over the last decade or so, a catena of decisions and host of amendments, including fast track arbitration and establishment of specialized commercial courts, have attempted to transform India into a robust centre for international and domestic arbitration."

Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, said that arbitration is the answer to expeditiously resolving business and commercial disputes.

"Arbitration should be made more effective by minimizing Court intervention in the arbitral awards. Certain steps have already been taken through the interpretation of the Act by the Apex Court but more needs to be done," Dr Reddy said.

"The courts should prioritize disposal of arbitral related cases through the commercial courts in a speedy manner so that the industry and foreign investors have faith in the arbitration process which includes the post arbitration proceedings before the courts," added Dr Reddy.

Mr N G Khaitan, President, ICA & Senior Partner, Khaitan & Co said that disruption is the new norm. "It is time for both the legislation and the judiciary and the legal fraternity to support and promote arbitration."

Ms Geeta Luthra, Senior Advocate & Vice President, ICA said there is a need to ensure that arbitration becomes a more realistic alternate dispute resolution mechanism.

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