SIAC hosted its annual India conference in Bangalore on Friday 26 September 2014 at the Vivanta by Taj Hotel. Along with our co-organiser, the Confederation of Indian Industry, SIAC hosted over 80 attendees from Singapore and across India including both in-house counsel and disputes as well as corporate lawyers from private practice.
India is an important market for SIAC. In 2013, the highest number of cases at SIAC was generated by Indian parties, who accounted for over one-third of SIAC’s total new caseload.
The theme for this year's India conference was ‘Protecting Business Interests through International Arbitration in an Evolving Indian Economy’. The inaugural session included a welcome speech by Mr John Savage, Vice-President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, followed by the keynote address delivered by the Guest of Honour, Justice Vinoodh Coomaraswamy, Honourable Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore. A special address was also delivered on behalf of CII by Mr Abhishek Goenka, Partner of BMR Associates and member of CII’s Karnataka State Council.
Some of the conference sessions were centred around the SIAC arbitration training video to demonstrate the workings of modern institutional arbitration under the SIAC Rules, as well as SIAC's popular Emergency Arbitrator process. This was the first time that the SIAC Training Video had been used in India and it was very well received by the audience. Delegates commented that the Training Video helped them gain a deeper understanding of the procedural intricacies of an international arbitration, and gave them a useful insight into the types of issues that typically arise. The remainder of the conference programme included an overview of topics of interest to Indian audiences on the practicalities of international arbitration, the Indian Law Commission’s proposed amendments to the [Indian] Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 and a technology-focused session which discussed whether and how disputes arising in the technology sector could be effectively tackled by arbitration.
The conference received positive feedback for the array of topics it covered and the interactive approach that was adopted by the distinguished panelists, who actively engaged the audience in informative discussions.
SIAC would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support. We would also like to thank our supporting organisations - the Indian Arbitration Forum, the Indian Corporate Counsell Association, ItechLaw, the Indian National Bar Association, CIArb (India Branch), and the Society of Indian Law Firms. SIAC especially thanks its Guest of Honour, Justice Vinoodh Coomaraswamy and its speakers for their interesting insights and contributions which made this event a tremendous success.
The main conference was followed by a half-day Young SIAC seminar on Saturday 27 September 2014. Speakers for the seminar included Mr Shreyas Jayasimha, Partner, Aarna Law, Mr Ankit Goyal, International Counsel, Allen & Gledhill and Ms Sapna Jhangiani, Legal Director, Clyde & Co. The topics of discussion were the difference in advocacy skills required for international arbitration as opposed to arbitration, the role of a junior counsel during an arbitration and the various means by which international institutional arbitration could be further developed in India. The audience contributed to interesting discussions on these topics.