India should emerge as international arbitration hub

Monday, 22 October 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj Friday envisaged India's emergence as a hub of international arbitration saying the country had better legal skills than anywhere else in the world.

Inaugurating a two-day international seminar on arbitration, Bhardwaj also exhorted the country's legal professionals to provide efficient services to Indian entrepreneurs to save them from signing legally infirm contracts with their business partners abroad.

The minister said: "It is my dream that India should emerge as a hub of international arbitration.

"We have better legal skills than those in other parts of the world. Our lawyers and judges are second to none. There is an urgent need to develop institutional arbitration and I am happy that the Indian council for Arbitration is taking the lead."

"There is also an urgent need of creating awareness on the arbitral process amongst the Indian legal fraternity for the creation of a new brand of arbitrators and practitioners who will be devoted full time to the arbitration process instead of treating arbitration as part time profession," the minister said.

"If we succeed in doing this I am sure we can emerge as a legal giant and be able to leverage our legal knowledge to global advantage," he said.

"I personally would like to say that the time has come when India should seriously contemplate a separate bar for arbitration since it is so much in demand," Bhardwaj said.

He exhorted the legal fraternity to provide legal services to Indian entrepreneurs, both in the country and abroad. "Our entrepreneurs engaged in international trade and commerce are doing yeomen service to the country. I request the legal community to provide them apt and efficient legal service at various stages including at the stage of signing contracts with the firm abroad."

Dwelling upon the worldwide growth of arbitration process along with the rising international trade and commerce, Ficci (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) president Habil Khorakiwala said earlier: "With the economic liberalisation and the opening up of the Indian economy there is a phenomenal growth in international trade, investment, transfer of technology etc."

"Users of arbitration system are growing at a phenomenal rate with the country's domestic growth being nine percent for the last few years and Indians investing about 20 billion dollars outside India, acquiring global firms," he said.

The two-day seminar on 'Critical Issues in International Commercial Arbitration' is being attended by over 500 participants from 22 countries. Around 60 serving judges of the apex court and high courts in the country are also attending.

The international legal luminaries attending include Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Arijit Pasayat of the Supreme Court, former chief justice R.C. Lahoti, eminent jurists Fali S. Nariman and K.K. Venugopal, International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI) president Ulf Franke and London's Essex Court's Chambers Toby Landau.

The seminar is being jointly hosted by Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA), Ficci and International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI).
Source: IANS
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