Growing prominence of institutional arbitration indicates necessity of a specialised Bar: SC judge Hima Kohli

 Supreme Court Judge Justice Hima Kohli on Saturday said the growing prominence of institutional arbitration in India and even globally, points towards the necessity of a specialised Arbitration Bar, comprising of experts and legal practitioners dedicated to the process.

Speaking on the occasion of the International Arbitration Day here, she said such a Bar would work in tandem with leading Arbitration institutions and this partnership aims to refine the process, showcasing its efficacy as a primary mode of dispute resolution.

The event was organised by the International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (IAMC).

Justice Kohli said that at a recent international conference organised by the Bar Council of India at Delhi, she had highlighted the fact that a specialised Arbitration Bar, particularly in India, will promote a cultural shift in the legal community, positioning arbitration as a niche field of expertise.

It will attract fresh talent and, at some stage, perhaps call for specialised Arbitral Tribunals at High Courts and District levels, akin to Commercial Benches, she said.

Regular workshops and training sessions will streamline every facet of the arbitration process, from drafting to enforcement, she said adding these measures will help boost both domestic and international confidence in India as an arbitration hub.

This would also ensure that arbitration gains primacy and does not take a back seat as compared to litigation in courts.

Justice Kohli said such a dedicated Arbitration Bar will help in adhering to fixed timelines, quick disposals and not mirror court proceedings. Therefore, what is perhaps a must for strengthening the process of arbitration in India is promoting a strong and experienced cadre of arbitrators and a specialised Arbitration Bar, she stressed.

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“”Incidentally, just a couple of weeks ago, at the IIAC Conference, R Venkataramani, the Attorney General of India has announced creation of an All India Arbitration Bar which is indeed a step in the right direction,” Justice Kohli said.

For achieving an equitably diversified and globally attuned arbitration framework, it is imperative to promote the fusion of ancient wisdom, replete in the Middle East and Asian regions with contemporary advancements and a constant pursuit of impartiality, innovation and broad consensus, she added.

Collaboration is vital in the onward journey towards fostering an environment of mutual respect, multi-cultural sensitivity and unwavering commitment to upholding the sanctity of arbitration, Justice Kohli stressed, adding this will contribute constructively to the global legal narrative.

She further stressed that gender-based diversity in arbitrators was essential for promoting inclusivity and fairness in the field of dispute resolution.

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