13 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – INDIA E-MAGAZINE WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM Law Firm Hires SHRUTI KHANIJOW LEAVING MRP Advisors JOINING Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co PRACTICE Dispute Resolution LOCATION Chennai POSITION Partner MALINI RAJU LEAVING J Sagar Associates JOINING AZB & Partners PRACTICE Real Estate LOCATION Bengaluru POSITION Partner SWATI SHARMA LEAVING Anand & Anand JOINING Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas PRACTICE Intellectual Property LOCATION Delhi POSITION Practice Head RAMYA SURESH LEAVING AZB & Partners JOINING Saraf & Partners PRACTICE M&A LOCATION Mumbai POSITION Partner ARAVIND VENUGOPAL LEAVING Acko JOINING Khaitan & Co PRACTICE M&A LOCATION Bengaluru POSITION Partner BROUGHT TO YOU BY S&A LAW OFFICES What are some recent trends and developments impacting the procedural and substantive aspects of arbitration for clients? The recent decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and various High Courts in India, have clarified many positions impacting procedural and substantive aspects of arbitration. For instance, a third-party funder, a non-signatory to the arbitration agreement, who is not a party to the arbitral proceedings or the award, cannot be held liable for the awarded amount. The decision on the issue of Doctrine of Group Companies, i.e., the non-signatory party(s) whether can be compelled to participate in arbitration proceedings is pending adjudication, and once passed, the same would impact substantive aspects of arbitration for clients. Whether an arbitration agreement contained in an unstamped agreement, as ruled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, is enforceable is an another important development impacting clients. A contract /clause stipulating a lesser period for invoking arbitration ( than as provided under the Limitation Act) would be invalid, which is yet another important decision for the clients. Recently the Delhi High Court, held that a significant and unexplained delay in delivering the award after it has been reserved makes it susceptible to challenge under Section 34 of the Act as the same conflicts with India’s public policy. All the same, post-COVID-19 virtual hearings have taken centre stage, offering a cost-effective and convenient option. How can clients strategically navigate these developments to optimize their outcomes in arbitration cases? Party autonomy is the centre of any arbitration proceedings. The arbitration agreement is the foundation of any arbitration process. Strategic planning by the clients is paramount in optimizing the outcomes of arbitration cases. The clients should keep abreast of changes in Indian arbitration law. Understanding these changes will help them make informed decisions. Assessing suitable dispute resolution method(s) based on costs, timing, specific needs, etc., is a must. Equally, the clients must use a wellconsidered Arbitration Agreement. Depending on the nature of the dispute, Clients should choose the right arbitration institution, governing laws, number of arbitrators, seat of arbitration, etc. Clients should ensure that the contracts and arbitration agreements comply with the latest legal developments. How have advancements in technology and digital platforms influenced the arbitration process in India? Technology is profoundly transforming the arbitration landscape in India. A significant development is the embrace of online case management systems by Indian arbitration institutions. These systems streamline the process for clients, enabling them to file cases, monitor proceedings, and access documents online effortlessly. The pandemic catalyzed the rise of virtual hearings in India, providing clients with enhanced flexibility and cost-effectiveness. E-discovery tools are particularly noteworthy, revolutionizing document management and making the review process more efficient. A conversation with Gunita Pahwa Gunita Pahwa Joint Managing Partner E: S&A Law Offices W: