The Indian Arbitration Forum's Best Practices Guidelines for Conduct of Arbitral Proceedings ('IAF Guidelines 2018')
Indian Arbitration Forum (IAF), April 2018
20 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2018
Date Written: April 24, 2018
The Indian Arbitration Forum (“IAF”) is an association of leading arbitration practitioners committed to streamlining the conduct of arbitration in India and promoting arbitration as an effective means of dispute resolution in India and abroad. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative by legal practitioners to establish a commercial/arbitration bar in India.
Arbitration in India is fast evolving as the preferred dispute resolution mechanism, especially insofar as commercial disputes are concerned. The Indian Arbitration Forum Best Practices Guidelines for Conduct of Arbitral Proceedings (“IAF Guidelines”) was prepared with a view to provide guidance on evolving best practices in the arbitral process. To clarify, if an arbitration is under any specific rules of an institution like ICC, SIAC or MCIA then such rules will be applicable and in case of conflict between this Guidelines and the rules of the institution then such rules of the institution shall prevail. IAF devised these guidelines in partnership with members of COMBAR, the Commercial Bar Association of England and Wales, and in association with Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration and Gujarat National Law University.
The IAF Guidelines were the result of a five-step process: (i) research of existing international guidelines; (ii) preparation of a questionnaire to understand the gaps in the Indian arbitration practice; (iii) interviews with domestic and international practitioners; (iv) drafting of the guidelines; and (v) broad review of the guidelines.
IAF provided the drafting team with indicators regarding the conduct of arbitral proceedings. In order to understand the procedures better, practice notes, rules and guidelines prescribed by leading arbitral institutions were studied. To reconcile the international best practices with the existing realities of arbitration in India, a questionnaire was prepared for the purpose of interviewing practitioners. This checklist was prepared with the assistance of Jasbir Dhillon QC, Rajesh Pillai and Rebecca Zaman.
The IAF then identified prominent domestic and international practitioners who would be interviewed for the purpose of this exercise. These included Mysore Prasanna, Jasbir Dhillon QC, Anneliese Day QC, Ketan Parikh, Nakul Dewan, Sherina Petit, Siddharth Dhar and Georges Chalfoun. The drafting team along with IAF team members interviewed these practitioners and the responses of these practitioners received during the individual interviews were recorded for the purpose of aggregating the comprehensive data. The broad range of inputs were analysed and a draft of the IAF Guidelines was prepared on the basis of this analysis, attempting to keep a balance between international best practices as well as practical realities in the Indian context.
This draft was then reviewed by legal luminaries like Justice B N Srikrishna (Retd), Justice A P Shah (Retd) including a panel comprising of the IAF members as well as other leading practitioners. After several rounds of review, additions and edits, the IAF Best Practices Guidelines for Conduct of Arbitral Proceedings was formulated into its current form.
The IAF team expresses its gratitude to the Gujarat National Law University team comprising of Dr. Vikas Gandhi, Dr. Nidhi Buch and the students, Param Bhalerao, Gladwin Issac, Sakshi Pawar, Bhavya Shukla and Akshata Kumta, who were part of the drafting team as well as the above-mentioned process.
Members of the IAF team that drove the abovementioned process were Sahil Kanuga, Vyapak Desai, Raj Panchmatia, Mustafa Motivala, Nusrat Hassan, Promod Nair, Tejas Karia, Shashank Garg, Renu Parekh, Meenakshi Iyer, Soorjya Ganguli, Nandini Khaitan, Neeti Sachdeva, Pranav Mago, Anish Wadia, Rishab Gupta and Manavendra Kane.
Keywords: IAF Guidelines, Best Practices in Arbitral Proceedings, International Arbitration, India, ICC, SIAC, MCIA, GNLU, ComBar
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