Mumbai [India], Oct.8 : The Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA), a first of its kind international arbitration institution, will open in Mumbai on Saturday.
The MCIA is the result of a joint effort between the domestic and international arbitration community, the business community and the Government of Maharashtra.
The MCIA will feature arbitration rules that reflect international best practices and will be housed in a state-of-the-art purpose built 7, 000 square foot complex, which can accommodate the largest of international arbitrations.
The MCIA Council for Arbitration will have some of the leading arbitration practitioners from India and around the world.
The MCIA Secretariat will comprise experienced arbitration practitioners and counsel who are skilled in administering arbitrations in the most efficient, transparent and cost effective manner.
The MCIA will usher in a new era in international arbitration in India and be a catalyst for business and investment into India.
Well known London-based solicitor Sarosh Zaiwalla described the setting up of an arbitration centre in Mumbai as a very important step in furthering the dispute resolution system.
"Global examples show a strong correlation between "arbitration-friendly" venues and financial centres: New York, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
In the recent past, Singapore has attracted a major chunk of arbitration business from India. Significant amount of the cases arbitrated by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in 2014, around 60 percent were those of Indian companies.
This shows a reluctance of Indian companies to settle their disputes in their homeland, and the absence of a culture of institutional arbitration," he said.
"India has the chance to be a global benchmark for the world in many ways and the new arbitration centre is in sync with Prime Minister Modi's Make in India Campaign.
An international arbitration centre within the country will provide a time bound and cost-effective arbitration facility and reinforce investor confidence whilst furthering the policy encouraging a culture of institutional arbitration to take root in India, as the Law Commission of India recently suggested was necessary," he added.
Zaiwalla further stated that an arbitration center is a private institution, outside of the judicial court structure, that offers alternative means to resolve legal disputes.
"An arbitration center helps provide the infrastructure to administer the arbitration process. For example, each arbitration center has its own set of rules which provide framework for the arbitration to assist in the process.
They may also maintain a panel of arbitrators who can be designated to determine the disputes. Significantly, the process is intended to avoid the rigid formality of the judicial process and to ensure that the arbitration proceedings are conducted in a timely and cost efficient manner," he said.
"A well-functioning arbitration center can help develop confidence of international parties. Recent amendments to India's arbitration legislation were intended in part to encourage the development of institutional arbitration in India.
The timing is therefore propitious, and Mumbai's status as one of the region's largest financial centers, should allow it to take its rightful place on the global arbitration stage," he added.
Zaiwalla said that for an arbitration centre to flourish, the legislative infrastructure should encourage alternative dispute resolution, and local courts should seek to follow a policy of non-interference and respect for the choice of parties to resort to arbitration.
Judicial challenges to arbitral awards should be exceptional. To make this system work also requires a pool of talented lawyers, arbitrators from various disciplines and judges who share a culture of fostering arbitration.
He said having a centre in India's business capital Mumbai will allow parties to benefit from a number of factors such as availability of a large pool of lawyers experienced in international commercial matters; experts; capital and a varied choice of seasoned arbitrators.
Transportation and communications links would also improve the attractiveness of Mumbai as an international arbitration centre.
Having such a centre in Mumbai will further its status as a global financial centre..