Over the last few years, arbitrator independence and impartiality have been under heightened scrutiny by courts and tribunals. This is not unexpected. The importance of the rule against bias is best explained by Lord Denning’s dictum in Metropolitan Properties Co (FGC) Ltd v Lannon [1969] 1 QB 577 where he held that “[j]ustice must be…

Arbitral tribunals are often faced with questions concerning the interpretation and enforcement of liquidated damages clauses; in such cases, the law governing the contract can significantly affect what damages can be claimed, the standard for proving such damages, and consequently the outcome of the dispute. This blog post examines the differences between English law and…

The group of companies doctrine in arbitration has always been contentious in India. The doctrine was first recognised by the Indian Supreme Court in Chloro Controls India Private Limited v. Severn Trent Water Purification Inc. (2013) 1 SCC 641 (hereinafter Chloro Controls). Since then, Indian courts have applied the doctrine to bind group companies of…

At the recent hybrid 7th ICC Asia-Pacific Conference on International Arbitration (the “Conference”), a palpable sense of happiness and community resonated throughout the day.  Mr Justin D’Agostino (Global CEO, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hong Kong) moderated the first panel discussion in a quick fire manner on recent arbitration developments in the Asia-Pacific region with leading practitioners…

India is witnessing a protracted corporate battle — fought before multiple courts and an India-seated SIAC arbitral tribunal — for control over one of its largest retail chains. This heavily publicised dispute between Amazon and the Future group took an unexpected turn in January this year when a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court…

While the second wave of Covid-19 hit India harder in 2021 than in 2020, this did not hamper progression in the legal sphere. 2021 saw several notable arbitration-related developments including another amendment to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Indian Arbitration Act”). Following on the tradition of the “2020 in Review: India” and “2019 in…

In the 1970s, when my father left India to study abroad, trunk calls home were rare and expensive, requiring shouting into the phone. In 2020, we have all exasperatedly repeated “You’re on mute” and “Am I audible?” into our screens on an almost daily basis. As public spaces became off-limits, those with access to technology…

It is no secret that Indian courts have previously faced criticism over their excessive interference in arbitral awards. However, there has been a course-correction in recent years, through legislation and judicial decisions. With the 2015 amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), it is clear that judicial scrutiny of arbitral awards should be…

 In August 2021, the Indian Supreme Court (‘Court’) in Amazon v. Future found an emergency award rendered in an arbitration seated in India (New Delhi) to be enforceable as if it were an interim order of an arbitral tribunal under Section 17(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (“Act”). The Court also found that such…

There is no statutory provision that covers derivative actions by shareholders in India. However, the chapter on Prevention of Oppression and Mismanagement in the Companies Act, 2013 (“the Companies Act”) comes the closest. While Indian courts have generally adopted a stance against the arbitrability of oppression and mismanagement matters (Rakesh Malhotra v. Rajinder Malhotra, Sporting…

Recently the Supreme Court of India in Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings Inc. v. Future Retail Ltd, (“Amazon v. Future”) took a progressive step by enforcing an emergency order/award rendered by an emergency arbitral tribunal appointed by Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”). The Court held that the term ‘arbitral tribunal’ contained in section 17 of the…

Proceedings for setting-aside arbitral awards in India have been the subject of controversy since time immemorial. Recent trends indicate that the tendency of courts to set-aside awards has been on the wane. However, on many occasions, courts have been sympathetic to the losing party on issues of quantum, costs and interest, and have undertaken a…

In May 2021, India’s National Company Law Tribunal (‘NCLT’) ordered the liquidation of Devas Multimedia (‘Devas’), on grounds of it having been incorporated for fraudulent purposes. This is the latest turn in a long running dispute contested across multiple fora. In this post, I highlight that this could give rise to a third BIT claim…

There has been much debate about immunity this last year. While, most were discussing concepts of “herd immunity” against the novel coronavirus, the Delhi High Court (Court) ventured into and addressed aspects of “sovereign immunity”. In a batch of petitions (KLA Const Technologies v. The Embassy of the Afghanistan and Matrix Global v. Ministry of…

This blog has previously discussed the illegality of unilateral appointments of sole arbitrators in India. However, a good beginning is only half the battle won.  Before one dwells further, it is important to gauge the Indian position on unilateral appointments.  First, as stated in TRF Ltd. v. Energo Engineering (“TRF”), if the nominated arbitrator is…

In the last decade, fifteen cases have been filed by foreign investors against India under various bilateral investment treaties (BITs).  Of these, three major cases were spurred by the ill-reputed retrospective taxation by India in 2012, allegedly targeted towards certain foreign investors namely: (i) Vodafone International Holdings BV v. The Republic of India (Vodafone case);…

The use of the group of companies doctrine in India to join non-signatories to an arbitration is an interesting but underexplored topic. First, since its adoption in 2012, Indian courts have either: (i) applied the doctrine in conjunction with other doctrines including alter ego and piercing of the corporate veil, or (ii) focussed on specific…

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment Act), 2021 (“2021 Amendment”) is the most recent intervention in, what appears to be, the Indian Parliament’s endless attempts to tinker with the scheme and intent of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“1996 Act”). The 2021 Amendment, which was passed into law on 10 March 2021 follows the Arbitration…

In a landmark ruling in PASL Wind Solutions Private Limited v. GE Power Conversion,1)Special Leave Petition (Civil) 3936 of 2021 (arising out of GHC judgment dated November 11, 2020), Supreme Court of India Judgment dated April 20, 2021. India’s Supreme Court rejected the argument that the designation of a foreign seat between two Indian parties…

Similar to Article 9 of the UNCITRAL Model Law (the “Model Law”), Section 9 of India’s Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“the Act”) entitles the parties to arbitration proceedings to obtain interim relief from courts. However, there is one major difference between these two provisions. Article 9 of the Model Law allows parties to obtain…

Many will recall the historic ruling of Justice Neil Gorsuch in McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020), where the United States Supreme Court upheld an 1866 treaty between the United States and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which established the Muscogee Nation’s geographic borders. The Court decided that much of current Eastern Oklahoma is to remain Indian land…

In a March 2021 decision, Pravin Electricals Pvt. Ltd. v. Galaxy Infra and Engineering Pvt. Ltd. (“Pravin Electricals”), a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (the “Court”) shed light on an “anomaly” that exists in the operation of Sections 8 and 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the “Act”). The Court clarified its…

Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, which is similar to Section 14(4) of the English Stamp Act, 1891, provides that, any instrument executed within the country that is unstamped or inadequately stamped, cannot be read in evidence “for any purpose”, barring in criminal proceedings. The provision is widely worded, but, does it preclude…

On 20 February 2021, the King’s Forum on IDR and Triumvir Law organised a virtual fireside chat with Mr. Salman Khurshid (former Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Dr. Aniruddha Rajput (India’s Member of the International Law Commission). The fireside chat was part of the webinar series on ‘Investment Arbitration in India’. During the conversation,…