Tuesday, May 31, 2011

LCIA without LC?!

According to the latest reports coming, LCIA India has been issued a notice by the High Court of Delhi, thanks to the petition filed by Mr.Chandrashekhar Pal on behalf of Association of Indian Lawyers (AIL). The petition seeks to remove the word “London Court” from “London Court of International Arbitration”.

Senior Counsel Ranjan Mukherjee is appearing on behalf of AIL .It has been alleged that:
• LCIA-India has tried to create an impression that it is part of English Legal machinery.
• LCIA-India is trying to create a parallel system of administration of law which is against the existing judicial system in India
• LCIA-India has formed its own justice delivery system which goes against the Indian Constitution.
• LCIA-India is introducing foreign lawyers deceitfully through arbitrations.
• The majority of arbitrators on the LCIA -India Panel are from UK.
• LCIA is acting biased and is rendering awards that are against Indian Parties.

However, it is interesting and pertinent to note that in the case of Venture Global Engineering v Satyam Computer Services, LCIA was the arbitral institute involved and the award was passed in favour of the Indian party. Later, it was the Supreme Court of India which obliged to the objections of the foreign party, thus making the case infamous.

The petition is rather amusing as LCIA in London also is in no way associated to the Municipal Court System. It is just an arbitral institution (rather a famous one around the world) having its “name” as “LCIA” due to the history attached to it. It is believed that no reasonable person in the arbitration field would confuse LCIA to be part of the English Municipal Law. Also, as the petition specifies, even if litigants are mislead in the first instance, the rules of LCIA will make things clear.

It is sad to see such developments on the Indian Arbitration canvas. On one hand the Law Minister wants to develop India into an International Arbitration Hub and on other hand the Indian Arbitration scene is witnessing such petitions. It is a warning sign amidst all fanfare as it can set the Indian Arbitration on a retrograde motion. Such uncalled petitions will only deter reputed arbitral institutions to enter into India as it would only add to their “Operational Costs of operating in India”! There is also news that the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is planning to establish a centre in India. Will it face a similar opposition if it comes, to remove the “S” from SIAC? Will it at all consider stepping on Indian soil if this thing with LCIA gets worse?

Notices have been also issued to Central Government, BCI and Bar Council of State of Delhi. Replies have to be submitted by July 25.

We shall keep the readers informed of any new developments that happen in this regard.

1 comment:

  1. This is both hilariously frivolous and shocking at the same time. I had the chance to attend a symposium organised by LCIA-India and the speakers were extremely cynical of the arbitration scene in India, and rightly so. This is not helping our image at all.

    We really need to get over our colonial paranoia and view every foreign agency as inherently oppressive/imperial.

    Also taking their arguments to their "logical" conclusion. Wouldn't the renamed Court of International Arbitration (or just IA if court is removed wtf!)then create an impression that an international court is creating a parallel international system for domestic disputes.

    Argh im too pissed off to think about this.


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