India-MENA Arbitration Summit 2024

The International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (IAMC), Hyderabad organised a 2-Day Arbitration Summit on February 17-18, 2024, at Hyatt, Gachibowli. The event was a confluence of leading arbitration experts from the India and MENA region. The gathering comprised of judges, arbitrators, senior advocates, general counsels, law firm partners, industry leaders and members from the business and legal fraternity.

Tariq Khan, Registrar of IAMC Hyderabad delivered the welcome address, highlighting the key achievements by IAMC since its inception in December, 2021.

Justice Hima Kohli, Judge, Supreme Court of India, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and highlighted that the India-MENA Arbitration Summit has been organised by IAMC to bring global experts from India and the Middle East and North Africa Region to bolster arbitration in the international legal paradigm. In her keynote address during the Inaugural Session, she said, “India’s dynamic economic and legal progress, in synergy with the MENA region, positions it as an emerging leader in global dispute resolution. This century will define India’s ascent as a global arbitration leader,particularly in collaboration with the MENA region in the international legal arena.”

Justice Kohli further stated that through amendments and reforms, the legal regime in India has kept pace with the ever-evolving business community and India is all set to embrace unprecedented economic and business growth. To foster the growth of business relations between the India and the MENA region, she further stated that “The added benefit of geographical and cultural proximity between India and MENA simplifies access to local legal expertise and imbues the arbitration process with invaluable region-specific insights. The shared heritage between India and the MENA countries bolsters communication and mutual understanding, significantly enhancing the prospects for effective dispute resolution. These factors collectively amplify India’s central role on the global arbitration stage, reflecting its burgeoning economic and legal stature.”

Justice Kohli emphasised on the judiciary’s unwavering support in the growth of arbitration in the country and stated that “…It is imperative to recognise that the essence of justice lies not only in honouring and enforcing arbitral awards but also in safeguarding the interest of fairness and equity. It must be underscored that judicial intervention on grounds of patent illegality or public policy ought to be an exceptional measure to be deployed sparingly and with utmost caution. The Indian judiciary, guided by the principles of minimal interference, exercises prudence and restraint in interfering with arbitral awards…Achieving an equitably diversified and globally attuned arbitration framework demands the fusion of ancient wisdom with contemporary advancements and the constant pursuit of impartiality, innovation and broad consensus.”

Justice Kohli concluded her address by highlighting that “As India positions itself at the forefront of international dispute resolution, the collaborative India-MENA corridor initiative has not only the potential to yield bilateral benefits, but also to significantly raise the bar for international arbitration globally.”

Justice Alok Aradhe, Chief Justice of High Court for the State of Telangana, addressing the gathering stated that there is a statutory duty upon the judiciary to identify cases which are fit for resolution through alternative means and that it is imperative for the courts to ensure the sanctity of the arbitration process and respect party autonomy in the arbitral process.

Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and Justice RV Raveendran, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India were also present during the Inaugural Session. They encouraged the institutionalisation of arbitration which would help in bringing in the required professionalism and efficiency into the process and substantially reduce costs and delay in arbitration.

Jehad Kazim, Executive Director of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), remarked during the Inaugural Session that UAE’s investment in India reflects the deep ties between the two regions. She encouraged the gathering to use the Summit as a platform to harbour solutions that addresses the challenges for a sustainable future for arbitration and foster the growth of arbitration in India and UAE.