Sector Books/Booklets

The Changing Landscape of Arbitration in India

Litigation, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution | Dec 2018

The law of arbitration in India has been evolving to complement the needs of India’s globalising economy. India’s intent to elevate arbitration as the preferred mode of dispute resolution, for both international and domestic businesses operating in India, has been well documented in the recent past. Over the past few years, there have been catena of pro arbitration judgments passed by the various High Courts and the Supreme Court of India, as well as legislative amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“the Act”) through the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 (“Amendment Act”) (the Act, as amended by the Amendment Act, will be referred to as the “Amended Act”).

At the emergence of the new arbitral regime, we brought to you an analysis of amendments proposed under the Arbitration & Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015. The Amendment Act eventually received the President’s assent on December 31, 2015, and the Amended Act retrospectively came into effect from October 31, 2015. After two abandoned attempts to amend the law of arbitration in India – in 2001 and in 2002, the Amended Act has been a remarkable step towards remedying the blemishes to the law of arbitration in India.

We have reflected on the recent changes in the arbitration landscape in India since the introduction of the Amended Act and analysed the impact of these amendments in both legal and practical terms. Previously, a brewing cause of concern for litigants was the surge in court intervention in arbitration proceedings in India, particularly ad hoc arbitrations. Over the last two years, the courts have made a conscious effort to follow the policy of minimal intervention, portraying India as both an arbitration friendly jurisdiction and a viable seat for arbitration proceedings.

In this backdrop, this write up seeks to collate and analyse the judicial landscape since the Amendment Act came into force, and the way forward in light of the proposed Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (“Bill”). The Amended Act has been in operation for a little more than two years. We delved into the development in law over these last couple of years and indeed, the readers will find it heartening to see that both, the Indian legislature, as well as the judiciary, are taking pro-active steps to support the cause of dispute resolution through arbitrations. We do hope this makes for some interesting reading. We enjoy every reader’s opinion and welcome your feedback.

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