Monday, October 11, 2010

Book of the Month - Justice R.S. Bachawat's Law of Arbitration and Conciliation

Following the overwhelming reception that Vindobona Junction has received, Lex Arbitri is launching a new Section called 'Book of the Month'. In this section, we seek to introduce to our readers one book per month dealing with arbitration law or related areas. The readers, authors or publishers may nominate books by emailing

Justice Bachawat's treatise is to arbitration law what H.M. Seervai's is to Constitutional law, albeit much easier to use. The fifth edition of the book lives up to the reputation of the original work and incorporates the latest developments.

The book contains section-wise analysis of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, something which most Indian treatises on arbitration have. However, what sets it apart is (i) the depth of research reflected in the large number of case laws cited in the book, (ii) an accurate description and clear analysis of latest developments  and (iii) the ease with which even a beginner in the subject can use the book, making it useful for practitioners, law students, teachers, academics and almost anyone interested in the subject.
Of particular interest are the parts of the book in which the editor's have taken critical views of landmark decisions and similar developments. While I am not sure how much of this would qualify as "Justice Bachawat's", these arguments and analysis adds a lot of value to the treatise and ensures that it does not stagnate at some point of time in the past. Examples of these analyses include the following headings - "Nature of enquiry and scope for interference – the test in Patel Engineering" (Page 433), "Inter-relationship between Ss. 8, 9, 11 and 16" (Page 1090), Applicability of Part 1 to arbitrations conducted outside India (Page 2236) and "Enforcement of annulled award" (Page 2392).

The book also discusses the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill in a post script to the introduction by Mr. Aravind Datar, Senior Advocate, Madras High Court. Further, the book contains a Forward written by Justice (Ret.) Ruma Pal. 

Several works on international arbitration often tend to ignore the larger framework of private international law from which most principles applicable in international arbitration are derived. The 5th Edition of Bachawat contains a whole chapter dedicated to the principles of private international law relevant to arbitration.

In addition to the rich content, the book is presented in an easy to read manner. For example, tables depict the correlations between provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, the Arbitration Act, 1940 and the UNCITRAL Model Law. The commentary on different provisions of the 1940 Act can also be found under the commentary on the corresponding provisions of the 1996 Act. Moreover, the arrangement of headings is such that each topic can be located with considerable ease.


  1. notwithstanding the exhaustiveness of Justice Bachawat's (I've not read the latest edition though), I've found myself referring to Saraf & Jhunjhunuwala to find the correct position of law. Justice Bachawat's says many things, cites many cases, quotes the UNCITRAL Model Law legislative history n all but I could never admire it as much as I admired Saraf & Jhunjhunuwala.

  2. Badri,

    Thanks for your response. I have found the latest edition of Bachawat extremely helpful, concise and up to date. Also, as I mentioned, I find it very easy to use.

    I have not read Saraf & Jhunjhunwala. I would love to have a review of that book by you for the next month's issue.


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