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Asia Guide

Dispute Resolution — India

Overview

INDIA (DOMESTIC FIRMS): An Introduction to India Contributed by Mahesh Agarwal, Managing Partner, Agarwal Law Associates

History will remember 2016 as a major milestone. This was a year of major upheavals and changes: some good and some not so good. Time will be the ultimate judge of these changes.

Despite there being a majority Government in power at the Centre, the political and hence, the Executive and Legislative fields are facing a volatile situation. In this background, the third arm on which our Constitution rests, i.e., the Judiciary, has once again risen to the task and plugged the various gaps through landmark judgments and proactive orders.

Let’s begin with “demonetisation”, which is perhaps one of the most significant steps taken in the history of independent India. It has far reaching effects on the entire nation and has engaged the country in a debate like never before.

Demonetisation, which saw complete withdrawal of currency notes of INR 500 and 1000 and introduction of currency notes of INR 2000 and 500 (new), was introduced as a Money Bill in the form of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill 2016, on November 29, 2016 in the Lok Sabha. This law primarily intends to impose penalties on anyone who is caught illegally converting money. The said amendment also introduced a scheme named “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna” to use illegal money, commonly referred to as “black money”, which has now been deposited into banks, for the betterment of the downtrodden and the rural class.

In other fields of law too including constitutional law, commercial law and arbitration law there have been major developments. The Indian judicial system has once again shown vitality when it comes to progressive society through its judgments. One must also not forget the contribution of our law makers, the Legislature, which has been successful in passing new legislation in the year 2016.

Changes in Commercial Law

Indian commercial law has undergone a number of major changes, which will change the way of doing business and commercial activities in the coming years. Some of these developments are as follows:

• Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the “Code”) "FOOTNOTE ONE" was brought into effect in 2016 to consolidate and amend the laws relating to reorganisation and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximisation of value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders including alteration in the order of priority of payment of Government dues and to establish an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

• The Code has introduced certain innovative concepts like Insolvency Resolution Process, establishment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (“IBBI”) and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund (IBF). Needless to say the Code will override all existing laws relating to bankruptcy and insolvency. The salient features of the Code are as follows:

(i) The Code marks a fundamental change in approach to the resolution of creditor-debtor disputes. It has changed the earlier regime of a “Debtor-in-possession” to that of a “Creditor-in-possession”. This fundamental shift has been hailed as a blessing for secured creditors.

(ii) Under the earlier regime, the High Court / NCLT had to decide whether or not a company should be wound up. However, under the new regime, if the restructuring fails to be implemented as prescribed under the Code it would lead to automatic liquidation of the debtor (except in case of individuals).

(iii) Section 2(10) of the Code whereby the definition of “creditor” has been broadened to include financial creditor, secured and unsecured creditor, operational creditor and a decree holder. Any one or more of these creditors, according to Section 6 of the Code, can initiate the corporate insolvency proceedings once there is a default by the corporate debtor.

(iv) The new Insolvency Resolution Process (IRP) in place ensures that the resolution process is completed within a time bound period of 180 days as opposed to the four years or more taken earlier. There are two options available to the stakeholders under the Act. They can, within the maximum time period of 180 days, which can be extended once for 90 days, resolve the issue through a resolution plan (accepted by 75% of the financial creditors), which if approved by the Adjudicating Authority, would be binding on all stakeholders.

(v) In case the debtor is liquidated, the sale proceeds of its assets have to be distributed amongst the creditors in the defined order of priority also referred to as the waterfall mechanism.

(vi) The Code has introduced the concept of “Insolvency Professionals”. The Code mandates that the resolution process of insolvency will be conducted only by a licensed insolvency professional.

• The High Court of Delhi vide its judgment dated January 27, 2016 in the matter of Rajeev Saumitra v. Neetu Singh & Ors "FOOTNOTE TWO" opened the way for derivative suits for shareholders, a concept prevalent in the West. It allows majority shareholders to bring action against the directors of a company for the latter’s malafide actions. Derivative suits, which have hitherto been unknown to the Indian judicial system, have sparked a debate in academic circles about derivative suits and their place in the Companies Act, 2013.

• Companies Amendment Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 16, 2016, which is the result of discussions and deliberations of the Company Law Committee. Certain amendments have been proposed in the Companies Act, 2013 through this Bill. One of the most controversial of the changes is a proposal to omit the provision which prohibits insider trading in securities.

• NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) & NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) were constituted "FOOTNOTE THREE" according to the mandate of Companies Act 2013, in June 2016. NCLT is a single, consolidated forum which will deal with all company related disputes, abolishing Company Law Board and Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). There are 11 (eleven) Benches of NCLT throughout India giving it a much wider reach to adjudicate company related disputes. Its Principal Bench is at New Delhi.

• The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debt Laws & Miscellaneous Provision (Amendment Bill) 2016 "FOOTNOTE FOUR" was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament. The said Bill led to amendment of: (i) Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI), (ii) Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (RDDBFI), (iii) Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and (iv) Depositories Act, 1996.

Arbitration and Dispute Resolution

• An important development in this field was rendered in the judgment of the Supreme Court of India in Centrotrade Minerals & Metals Inc. v. Hindustan Copper Inc "FOOTNOTE FIVE", Civil Appeal No. 2562 of 2006 decided on 15.12.2016, whereby the Court has upheld two-tier arbitrations. A two-tier arbitration generally contains an appellate stage in the dispute resolution process, more like a review of the arbitral award. It, however, needs to be specifically provided in the arbitration agreement. Two-tier arbitrations are an upcoming phenomenon in the world of arbitration, and with a strong precedent from the Supreme Court, India has opened doors for this form of arbitration.

• The arbitration and judicial community also seemed divided in 2016 on the interpretation of the recent amendments of 2015 in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996. However, each amendment in any law brings with itself its own set of problems especially regarding its interpretation and applicability. One of the major issues before the Indian courts is prospective or retrospective applicability of the Amendment. There is a difference of opinion amongst High Courts "FOOTNOTE SIX", which now is pending adjudication before the Supreme Court.

Real Estate Law

The real estate and infrastructure sector is one of the booming sectors in India, and the regulation regarding the same also occupies a specialised field.

• The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 "FOOTNOTE SEVEN" has been introduced to ensure greater regulation of this sector as it has an effect not only on corporates but also on the common man. It is quite clear from the Statement of Objects and Reasons and the Preamble, that the Act has created the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (the “Authority”), with the aim to regularise as well as promote the sector. Its primary aim is also to protect interests of consumers by ensuring that allotment of real estate sector plots, apartments, land etc. is done in a transparent manner by the regulator.

• It mandates the estate developer to open an escrow account for each project and 70% of the money collected through bookings from customers needs to be deposited in such an account.

• The consumers who have disputes regarding real estate will have speedier judgments and remedies as per the new 2016 Act, by imposing a time limit for tribunals and courts to resolve issues/disputes.

• Introduction of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2016 "FOOTNOTE EIGHT" has been one of the most talked about laws. It also shows the tightening grip of the government over those involved in shady and illegal property transactions. In simple terms, a “benami” transaction is when someone buys a property in someone else’s name (e.g. wife, brother etc.) in order to hide his/her source and record of income. The law defines “benami” more technically under Section 2(9) of the 2016 Act. It states that a property is benami when it is bought as a result of consideration being paid by someone else and property is held in the name of another person; or when the property transaction is conducted in a fictitious manner; or when the name of the person providing consideration is fictitious or not traceable; or any transaction of property where the owner himself has no knowledge of the same, or denies the property to have been bought by him. This new law sets an entire mechanism in place by way of which benami transactions can be inquired into and investigated. Punishment for those involved in any prohibited transaction under the Act has been increased to 7 (seven) years. Properties which are under a benami name will be confiscated by the Government, with no compensation.

TAX

• 2016 saw constitution of a 9-judge Bench reviewing the question of entry tax and its constitutional validity in Jindal Steels v. State of Haryana Civil Appeal No. 3453 of 2002 and other connected matters (as decided on 11th November, 2016). The said judgment, running into 800 plus pages, has reviewed the earlier law and held that only such taxes as are discriminatory in nature are prohibited by Article 304(a) (Restriction on trade, commerce and intercourse among States) of the Constitution of India and levy of a non-discriminatory tax cannot per se constitute infraction of Article 301 (Freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse) of the Constitution of India.

• This judgment, however important it might be, will not have any effect on the future as the Goods and Service Tax Act is expected to be implemented in the near future. Goods and Services Tax is envisaged as a value added tax (VAT) comprising a comprehensive indirect tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods as well as services at the national level. It will replace all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Central and state governments including but not limited to entry tax. Therefore, the law as declared by the aforementioned 9-judge Bench will apply only to the past period.

Conclusion

As aforesaid, 2016 has been an exciting year for the Indian legal system. The Indian judiciary has set a higher benchmark for the legal fraternity. Legislation passed in 2016 also gives us an insight into the implementation of government policies to develop our nation. However, time will judge the impact of these judgments, amendments and policies.

1. As notified on 11th May, 2016

2. [2016] 198 Comp Cas 359 (Delhi)

3. Constituted with effect from 1st June, 2016

4. As notified on 25th November, 2016

5. AIR 2017 SC 185

6. Madras High Court in Delphi TVS Diesel Systems Ltd v. Union of India (24.11.2015) had sought clarifications from Central Government on the issues of applicability of the 2015 Amendment, being either prospective or retrospective.

7. As notified on 1st May, 2016

8. As notified on 1st November, 2016

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Agarwal Law Associates - Dispute Resolution

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Mahesh Agarwal and Rishi Agrawala
- 6 partners
- 40 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains an illustrious reputation for handling major Supreme Court disputes, as well as international arbitrations. Also active in various regulatory forums, including the Competition Commission and the Electricity Tribunal. Represents both domestic and international clients in a diverse range of disputes work, including tax, banking, criminal and constitutional cases.

Strengths Clients are effusive in praising the firm's dispute resolution credentials: "They are a star firm when it comes to litigation."

A peer confirms that the practice is "one of the best in this space," adding: "We like the challenge of working against them."

Work highlights Represented celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia in a widely publicised Supreme Court challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Successfully represented the Cellular Operators Association of India in challenging the constitutional validity of an order issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to impose penalties on telecom operators for calls dropped.

Significant clients Essar Group, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Indiabulls Group, JSW Steel, Adani Power.

Notable practitioners

Mahesh Agarwal receives widespread recognition for his strong technical ability along with "his good relations with senior counsels and courts, which all help in building efficiency." He is best known for his experience handling Supreme Court matters, and is acknowledged by sources as "a very good litigator." He led the team representing Ritu Dalmia in a high-profile challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

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Karanjawala & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Raian Karanjawala
- 8 partners
- 75 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded Supreme Court powerhouse with a prestigious bench of litigation specialists. Also increasingly well known for its prowess in arbitration and High Court litigation. Its client roster comprises mostly domestic corporates from a range of industries, including oil and gas, construction, aviation and finance.

Strengths The team is noted for its commitment to client service, with one interviewee reporting: "We found them to be very good - they provided us with excellent service, and they were always available for a call."

Work highlights Represented Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity in High Court litigation and arbitration against the National Highways Authority of India. The dispute concerned alleged contract breaches in relation to a PPP project.

Filed a writ petition on behalf of Tata Motors, challenging the constitutional validity of Sections 22(3), 26(1) and 27(b) of the 2002 Competition Act, following penalties imposed by the Competition Commission of India for alleged anti-competitive practices.

Significant clients Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity, TATA Capital Financial, Air Asia, Indraprastha Gas, Tata Motors.

Notable practitioners

Renowned for his able handling of Supreme Court disputes, Raian Karanjawala receives effusive praise as a "well reputed lawyer" and a "very committed lawyer." He is credited as the driving force behind the firm's litigation and arbitration practice. His work highlights include acting for Bhayana Builders in arbitration against the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding alleged outstanding payments for the construction of a sports injury building in Safdarjung hospital.

Ruby Singh Ahuja commands much respect from clients and peers, who praise her formidable court presence and deep experience in the field. She is described as "a tough litigator" and praised for her ability to "go into the depth of the matter and come up with good solutions and strategies for the client." In a notable highlight, she represented Air Asia and Tata Singapore Airlines in disputes concerning a challenge to their approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board to operate a passenger airline in India.

Nandini Gore has a sound reputation in both litigation and arbitration. Commentators praise her "very meticulous" approach. Her work highlights include acting for GMR Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad Expressways in arbitration against the National Highways Authority of India arising from the termination of a concession agreement.

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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Pallavi Shroff
- 16 partners

What the team is known for Eminent practice with extensive expertise across a wide range of contentious issues, including those related to M&A, financial services regulation, insolvency and tax. Also remains active in competition, power and infrastructure disputes. In addition to the litigation practice, the firm is frequently mandated on some of the country's most significant arbitrations, acting for both domestic and multinational clients.

Strengths Clients rely on the firm's strong technical ability, with one asserting: "It is our go-to firm in India for arbitration."

Another client highlights the practice for being "very good at dealing with international businesses."

Work highlights Represented Devas Multimedia before an international tribunal in a dispute against Anrix, concerning the cancellation of a satellite contract. The tribunal awarded USD672 million to Devas Multimedia.

Acted for Videocon Industries in successfully challenging an anti-arbitration injunction granted to the Union of India by the Delhi High Court.

Significant clients J.P. Morgan, BHEL, Facebook, Maruti Suzuki, Lufthansa.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Pallavi Shroff is a notable name in the Indian legal scene, and is recommended for her extensive expertise in litigation and arbitration. Market commentators remark that "despite her high profile, she is still very accessible," and that she "lives up to her reputation, in terms of her legal knowledge."

Ritu Bhalla is an esteemed litigator with broad-ranging expertise covering such areas as private equity, restructuring and shareholder disputes. She also has considerable capabilities in arbitration. Her clients include Astro Entertainment Network, HDFC and Mahima Datla.

Tejas Karia heads up the arbitration practice and wins plaudits for his "impeccable knowledge" in this field. A client reports: "He was very good at rolling up his sleeves and working hard throughout the case." His work highlights include acting for M3Nergy in an arbitration against Hindustan Petroleum and Prize Petroleum, arising from a joint operating agreement for the development of offshore marginal fields.

Ajit Warrier is active on a range of complex litigation and arbitration. His sectors of focus include oil and gas, infrastructure and real estate.

Editorial for Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co, now merged with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

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AZB & Partners - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Rajendra Barot
- 4 partners
- 28 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A highly skilled team of dispute resolution specialists, further strengthened by the firm's expert corporate practice. Acts for a diverse roster of multinational corporates, banks and financial institutions in high-stakes litigation and international arbitration. Active in a range of industries including construction, aviation, infrastructure and real estate.

Strengths Interviewees highlight the firm's ability to provide a full service, reporting: "They have the knowledge, expertise and connections to assist with whatever requirement we have."

Another source enthuses: "They are very committed, hard-working and responsive."

Work highlights Acted for Tata Motors in proceedings against Ganage Group before the High Court of Bombay. This was an arbitration petition in a dispute stemming from a supply contract between the parties.

Defended Sandeep Raheja against a suit filed by Sabita Narang claiming 25% of their late father's property.

Significant clients Reliance Industries, NTPC, HSBC, Nissan, Facebook.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Rajendra Barot has a wealth of experience acting on High Court and Supreme Court disputes. He also enjoys a distinguished reputation in the arbitration space. Interviewees remark that "he is easy to deal with and very approachable" and "gives a clear view on the dispute and how he sees it." He took a leading role in representing Tata Motors in a dispute against Ganage Group arising from a supply contract between both parties.

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Bharucha & Partners - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: M P Bharucha and Shafaq Sapre
- 2 partners
- 40 other lawyers

What the team is known for A prominent practice, active across an array of domestic and international arbitrations. Also has extensive experience in High Court and Supreme Court litigation. In addition to the firm's commercial litigation expertise, its other areas of strength include environment, construction and real estate disputes.

Strengths Clients praise the firm's efficiency, reporting that "they are proactive and punctual to an exceptional degree."

Other interviewees state: "They are by far one of the most diligent, professional and well-managed firms we have dealt with."

Work highlights Acted for Idea Cellular in High Court proceedings against the Union of India. The dispute concerned one-time spectrum charges allegedly owed to the Union of India by Idea Cellular.

Defended Sandeep Raheja in disputes over the wealth distribution of his late father.

Significant clients Idea Cellular, SERGI Transformers Explosion Prevention Technologies, PwC, Vodafone India, Indus Towers.

Notable practitioners

M P Bharucha is held in high esteem by peers and clients alike for his litigation and arbitration prowess. Sources describe him as "a very hard-working and dedicated lawyer" as well as "a first-rate solicitor." Of late, he has defended Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust against the EU's allegations that it breached the conditions of a grant for a disaster relief programme.

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Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for A renowned full-service offering with a distinguished dispute resolution practice. Caters to mainly multinational entities, offering sound expertise across litigation and arbitration.

Notable practitioners

Sources emphasise that Percival Billimoria "offers excellent client service and prepares thoroughly for litigations." He also receives praise for his strategic approach and the clarity of his advice.

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Federal & Rashmikant - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for A go-to firm in Mumbai, offering a raft of dispute resolution expertise to primarily domestic clients. Continues to have a particular focus on environmental and real estate cases.

Notable practitioners

C Rashmikant is singled out as "a fantastic lawyer" who is "highly experienced and very measured in his approach." He remains an especially eminent figure in the area of real estate litigation, though his experience spans a broad range of disputes.

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J Sagar Associates - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Farad Sorabjee and Dhirendra Negi
- 15 partners

What the team is known for An accomplished team offering deep knowledge across a broad range of contentious matters, including construction, banking and energy-related disputes. Also well versed in domestic and international arbitration.

Strengths Sources highlight the team's commitment to client service, saying: "Clients' interest is paramount for them."

Another interviewee declares: "It was fantastic working with them."

Significant clients Accenture Services, Canon India, Essar Group, Nestlé India, Pepsi Foods.

Notable practitioners

Murali Ananthasivan is a well-established figure in the Bengaluru litigation market. Sources confirm that he is a "very respected lawyer" in this sphere. He acts for an impressive roster of high-end clients, particularly those in the media industry.

Amar Gupta is lauded as "a seasoned strategist" who commands much respect in the litigation arena. He handles civil and commercial disputes, and peers report that they "see him a lot in court."

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Khaitan & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for Mandated on some of the country's most cutting-edge litigations. Also proficient in international and domestic arbitration. Leverages its network of offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru to serve clients throughout India. Areas of strength include energy, competition and environmental disputes.

Strengths Clients are quick to point out the firm's excellent level of service, noting: "They are working constantly on litigation matters, and yet they are always available. That is the best thing."

Sources also highlight its technical expertise in litigation, remarking that "they have very good knowledge of the subject."

Work highlights Acted for Uber in a INR50 crore claim against Ola brought before the Delhi High Court. The dispute involved allegations that Ola had created multiple fake rider accounts to damage Uber's business operations in India.

Defended BMW in arbitration proceedings brought by Delta Cars over the termination of a dealership agreement.

Notable practitioners

Sanjeev Kapoor has a distinguished practice that encompasses litigation and arbitration. His areas of strength include IP, energy and environmental disputes. Clients are impressed by "his proactive approach and timely delivery, as well as his good knowledge of the law." He represented Jindal Steel & Power in a dispute against Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company (CSPDCL) regarding a INR780 million cross-subsidy surcharge levied by CSPDCL.

Ajay Bhargava is noted for his "substantial amount of experience" and for being a "hard-working and dedicated litigator." His work highlights include acting for De Nora Water Technologies in disputes over the interpretation of joint venture agreements.

Chakrapani Misra attracts praise for his skills in arbitration, along with his "knowledge and experience of dealing with international clients." His clients include Metal One Corporation and Bharat Hari Singhania.

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Luthra & Luthra Law Offices - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Rajiv Luthra
- 20 partners
- 75 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A full-service offering, able to advise blue-chip clients throughout the life-cycle of a dispute. Draws on the firm's extensive domestic coverage to handle cases in the Supreme Court and various High Courts across India. Areas of expertise include debt recovery, breach of contract, competition and real estate litigation, as well as domestic and international arbitration.

Strengths Interviewees highlight the firm's high level of service and deep expertise, noting: "They are very professional in service delivery, and their understanding of law is fantastic."

Peers agree that "they are doing excellent work in dispute resolution."

Work highlights Acted for Pro Kabbadi League in a High Court dispute over allegations of cheating.

Represented Percept Media in a dispute against BSNL over allegedly incomplete payments for advertising services. The dispute involved arbitration proceedings and High Court litigation.

Significant clients Biocon, Multi Screen Media, Etisalat DB Telecom, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Godrej Properties.

Notable practitioners

Bobby Chandhoke is celebrated for his deep experience in the field, with sources asserting that "he knows the law like no one else." Clients also praise his ability to "understand the matter quickly."

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Wadia Ghandy & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for Long-standing reputation for handling high-stakes disputes in numerous sectors, including property, competition and environmental litigation, along with international and domestic arbitration. Acts primarily for banks and real estate companies.

Notable practitioners

Based in Mumbai, Bindi Dave is hailed as an "excellent litigator." She has a broad practice that spans corporate and disputes work, and continues to be especially active in real estate and general commercial litigations.

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Bhasin & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Lalit Bhasin and Nina Bhasin
- 40 qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Full-service firm with a notable experience acting on cases in the Delhi High Court. Offers considerable capabilities in aviation, employment and industrial disputes, as part of its wider practice.

Strengths Clients appreciate the firm's pragmatic approach, commenting: "Services provided have been very good. We always get a balanced opinion on any matter that we refer to them."

Another source says: "They are very thorough, and their legal advice has never let me down. Plus they're always available and very receptive to our suggestions."

Work highlights Successfully represented Air India in a Supreme Court dispute over its decision to terminate the employment of a trade union leader, following a strike called shortly after a plane crash.

Acted for Panacea Biotech in a Supreme Court litigation brought by the Respondent Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company over the classification of Panacea's operations for the purpose of imposing electricity tariff rates.

Significant clients Asian Hotels, Ansal Properties and Infrastructure, Thai Airways, Accenture Services, SMS India.

Notable practitioners

Lalit Bhasin is a highly experienced and respected litigator, acknowledged by interviewees as someone who "looks at things from a unique perspective." In a notable highlight, he acted for Indian Banks Association in a Supreme Court dispute whereby Keshavlal Khemchand and Sons challenged the constitutional validity of a 2004 amendment to Section 2(1) of the 2002 SARFAESI Act.

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Dhir & Dhir Associates - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Alok Dhir and Maneesha Dhir
- 5 partners
- 25 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Continues to be the pre-eminent firm in India for insolvency work. Also maintains a reputed practice in general commercial litigation and arbitration, acting for various corporates, NGOs, banks and government entities. Active across an array of sectors including power, employment and construction.

Strengths Market commentators praise the team members as "dynamic professionals with thorough knowledge of the subject matter they're advising on."

Work highlights Represented Exclusive Motors in a dispute against Lamborghini over the termination of a dealership agreement to import and sell sports cars in Delhi.

Acted for Helios Photo Voltaic in arbitration proceedings against LDK relating to alleged breaches of a supply agreement.

Significant clients Hindustan Clean Energy, Exclusive Motors, Green Belt Constructions, Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India, Jai Balaji Industries.

Notable practitioners

Alok Dhir is a seasoned practitioner with a prestigious reputation in the insolvency sphere. He also has experience handling a suite of other contentious matters, and lately acted for Exclusive Motors in the dispute against Lamborghini over the termination of an agreement between the two parties.

Nilesh Sharma continues to be well regarded for his insolvency expertise. His work highlights include representing Jyoti Group before the Insolvency Court. Clients attest that they "have been satisfied with the quality of services provided by Sharma."

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DSK Legal - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Anand Desai
- 5 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Remains a prominent firm in the area of entertainment and media-related disputes, acting for a number of celebrity clients. The wider dispute resolution practice spans litigation and arbitration, with strength in IP, employment and general commercial disputes, among others.

Strengths Clients value the team's pragmatic approach, saying: "Their integrity is very high. They don't just say what the client wants to hear, they always tell you the truth straight out."

Work highlights Represented Sahara Adventure Sports in arbitration proceedings against Maharashtra Cricket Association, stemming from disputes over commercial agreements relating to the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.

Acted for Percept in litigation and arbitration proceedings against Nikhil Chinapa in connection with Sunburn music festival.

Significant clients Lubrimetal, Salman Khan, Sahara Group, Bharat Forge, Blue Dart Express.

Notable practitioners

Anand Desai has an excellent reputation among peers for his able handling of media and entertainment-related disputes. He also receives warm praise for "doing a lot of very good commercial arbitration work," as well as acting on a wide range of litigations. In a highlight, he represented Rahul Narang in a shareholder dispute against its joint venture partner Myen, involving allegations of oppression and mismanagement.

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Dua Associates - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for Maintains an active practice representing primarily international companies in high-stakes commercial disputes. Also acts for a range of domestic corporates in various courts across the country. Strong pan-Indian presence, with prominence in New Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru.

Strengths The team is noted for its exceptional client service: "The turnaround time is fantastic. They are available for a discussion at any hour of the day."

Work highlights Defended Blue Coat Systems in dispute proceedings relating to a distributorship agreement.

Representing CGG, an international oil and gas contractor, in arbitration proceedings against Indian state-owned exploration company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

Significant clients Dow Chemical, Reliance Communications, Blue Coat Systems, Sumitomo Corporation.

Notable practitioners

Shiraz Patodia is a well-respected practitioner with considerable experience handling High Court and Supreme Court litigation. She is also active in high-profile arbitrations. Sources comment that she is "very adept at working with international companies." She is also noted for being "extremely well organised, confident and well connected." She lately acted for Reliance Communications in arbitration proceedings against the Union of India, arising from various contractual disputes.

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IndusLaw - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Srinivasa Raghavan
- 4 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Continues to be well regarded for IP litigation, as part of the wider dispute resolution practice. Other areas of strength include contractual disputes, electricity litigation and international arbitration. Considerable experience acting on Supreme Court and High Court cases, as well as appearing before various tribunals across India.

Strengths Sources commend the firm's thorough preparation: "They conducted good research into past judgments relevant for our case."

Work highlights Assisted Citicorp Finance with initiating arbitration proceedings against Primus Retail, seeking recovery of monies owed.

Acted for Ramco Cements in filing two writ petitions before the Karnataka High Court, challenging demand notices from the Karnataka government's Department of Geology under the 2015 Mines and Minerals Amendment Act.

Significant clients Citibank, Pernod Ricard India, Arvind Group, ANI Technologies, Microsoft India.

Notable practitioners

Srinivasa Raghavan is identified by commentators as "a very respected lawyer in Bengaluru." He has extensive expertise in commercial litigation and arbitration, particularly disputes arising from commercial contracts. His work highlights include representing ETA Engineering in initiating arbitration proceedings against Nitesh Residency Hotels, seeking recovery of payments due for the completion of a hotel project in Bengaluru.

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Kachwaha & Partners - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Sumeet Kachwaha
- 4 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acclaimed firm, active on a wide array of litigation and arbitration matters, focusing particularly on cross-border work. Areas of focus include construction and infrastructure disputes. Client roster comprises mainly international corporates.

Strengths Numerous market commentators point out that "the firm is very prominent in arbitration."

Sources also highlight the practice's "high-quality performance," explaining that the team is "quick and reliable, and will work to urgent deadlines."

Work highlights Acting for Anglo Coal in an ICC arbitration against an Indian public sector entity, involving a claim of over USD78 million.

Continues to defend Hyundai Engineering in liability proceedings following the collapse of a bridge under construction over the Chambal River, which led to 48 fatalities.

Significant clients Anglo Coal, Universal Tractor Holdings, Hyundai Engineering, Pico Group, Tanroads.

Notable practitioners

Sumeet Kachwaha is widely applauded for his activity in high-profile arbitrations. He is also adept at handling litigation matters, and has over 35 years' experience in the field. Sources acknowledge him as "a thorough professional who is very dependable." His recent mandates include assisting Alcatel-Lucent with insolvency proceedings against Usha India.

Dharmendra Rautray wins plaudits for his "thorough knowledge of contractual disputes." He concentrates his practice on arbitration, with an emphasis on international trade and construction-related matters. In a highlight, he aided Daelim Industrial with initiating ICC arbitration proceedings, seeking USD3 million in damages relating to the construction of a power plant in an oil refinery. A client declares: "We have been impressed by his extremely hands-on and focused approach."

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Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: YP Dandiwala and Shardul Thacker
- 11 partners
- 45 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Respected full-service offering based in Mumbai. Handles a variety of contentious matters, including oil and gas, real estate and shipping disputes. Expertise spans litigation and arbitration, with experience acting for both domestic and international clientele.

Strengths A client enthuses about the firm's solutions-oriented approach, stating: "I am very happy with Mulla & Mulla on the technical side, and also like that they focus on outcomes."

Another client enthuses that "the partners are very knowledgeable and are always available to take my queries."

Work highlights Defended JSW Infrastructure against a writ petition filed by Chaucer Capital before the Bombay High Court. The dispute stemmed from Maharashtra Maritime Board's allotment of an all-weather captive jetty to JSW Infrastructure.

Represented DVB Bank in filing a suit against GOL Offshore, seeking the recovery of a USD47 million loan for six offshore vessels.

Significant clients DVB Bank, JSW Group, National Centre for Performing Arts, Swiss Marine, Tata Sons.

Notable practitioners

YP Dandiwala maintains a sound reputation as a leading litigator in Mumbai. He brings to the table many years of experience handling high-profile disputes, and is lauded as an "intelligent and client-friendly" practitioner with a "practical and incisive approach."

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Nishith Desai Associates - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Vyapak Desai
- 4 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Specialises in cross-border work, particularly international arbitrations. Well versed in tax and private equity disputes, as a result of the firm's strong advisory practice in these areas. Also offers excellent expertise in investment treaty issues as part of the wider dispute resolution practice.

Work highlights Represented Glencore International in enforcement proceedings before the Delhi High Court, relating to disputes over a foreign award passed in a previous SIAC arbitration.

Acted for Peabody in numerous disputes, including criminal proceedings, against Magnifico Minerals over alleged breaches of a sale and purchase agreement.

Significant clients Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Vyapak Desai is a key contact for clients.

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PH Parekh & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for Respected bench of litigators operating out of New Delhi. Particularly well reputed for handling Supreme Court cases.

Strengths Market commentators agree that "they have one of the largest Supreme Court practices."

Notable practitioners

Sameer Parekh wins numerous plaudits for his Supreme Court work. He is also celebrated for his commitment to client service, with sources noting that he is "very available" and "easy to work with."

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Poovayya & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for A prominent Bengaluru-based practice serving a sizeable list of multinational corporates. Continues to be highly commended for its expertise in technology and IP disputes.

Strengths Clients value the firm's tenacious approach to negotiations, and report that they are "very happy working with the team."

Peers endorse the firm's "strong presence in South India."

Notable practitioners

Nalina Mayegowda is a key contact at the firm.

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Trilegal - Dispute Resolution

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Sitesh Mukherjee
- 4 partners
- 35 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Frequently mandated on a range of contentious work, including construction litigation, cross-border financial disputes and international arbitration. Notable expertise in contentious regulatory matters in the energy, power and aviation sectors. Represents a range of funds, financial institutions and large corporates in high-stakes cases.

Strengths Clients confirm that they have "a very good impression of the practice."

Peers acknowledge that it is "a very good name in the market."

Work highlights Represented Meenakshi Energy (MEPL) in dispute proceedings brought by PTC India before the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission, whereby PTC sought a share in MEPL's profits and trading margin from power sales to distribution companies in Telangana.

Acted for Shriram Properties and Infrastructure in a shareholder dispute brought before the Chennai High Court.

Significant clients Telenor Group, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Tata Power, Thomson Reuters, Hassad Food Company.

Notable practitioners

Sitesh Mukherjee demonstrates significant expertise in energy and infrastructure disputes. His work highlights include assisting Axiom Telecom in the winding-up proceedings of its joint venture company Future Axiom Telecom.

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Economic Laws Practice - Dispute Resolution

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Active on a broad variety of commercial and regulatory disputes, with prominence in contentious tax and infrastructure matters. Frequently works alongside international law firms on high-profile, cross-border mandates. The dispute resolution practice is further enhanced by a dedicated arbitration team.

Strengths The firm receives warm praise for its commerciality and client service. Sources state: "The team is responsive, attentive and provide concise answers."

Other clients agree that the group is "very efficient" with "sound knowledge" of dispute resolution.

Work highlights Acted for Hindustan Unilever in litigation over the classification of chlorine as a by-product or joint product in the manufacture of caustic soda, for the purpose of calculating the appropriate anti-dumping duty on the import of caustic soda.

Represented Palazzio Hotels Leisure in arbitration proceedings against Shangri-La International Hotel stemming from disputes over a hotel management agreement.

Significant clients Google, Dubai Port World, Otis Elevators, Gammon India, BIOCON.

Notable practitioners

Naresh Thacker is a key contact.

Department profile by Economic Laws Practice

ELP has been consistently recognised as one of the leading Litigation and Dispute Resolution firms in the country and our Partners are recognized as leading individuals in the litigation space in India. The areas covered by the practice extend across all avenues including corporate disputes, commercial disputes, regulatory disputes, tax disputes, domestic & international arbitration and white collar crimes.

Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice is built on the strength of a team that is not only at the cutting edge of legal knowledge and research skills, but has also mastered the art of advocacy. Each team member is acknowledged to consistently deliver results. The team prides itself on diversity and depth of experience and represents clients across fora and practice areas from inquiry & investigation stages right up to the Supreme Court of India, playing a dual role of Solicitor and Counsel, which sets us apart from other practices in India. 

ELP is recognized internationally as a thought-leader in India for arbitration. The team is sought out for its knowledge, which is demonstrated by the very recent appreciation received from industry stalwarts as well as professionals for its Analysis of the Amendments to Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. We have represented clients in proceedings before various institutions such as the ICC, LCIA, LCIA India, SIAC, LMAA, GAFTA, KLRCA, etc. and in Ad-hoc proceedings around the world.



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Holla & Holla Advocates - Dispute Resolution

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for A notable team of litigation experts based in Bengaluru. Offers broad-ranging disputes expertise to sizeable corporate clients.

Strengths Market commentators point out the practice's strong reputation: "It is a good firm. The lawyers are pretty well known."

Notable practitioners

Advocate Vivek Holla is a key client contact.

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Juris Corp - Dispute Resolution

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Sandeep Mahapatra and Durgesh Khanapurkar
- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for An established firm with substantial knowledge of financial litigation, domestic arbitration and competition disputes, among other areas. Frequently mandated by bondholders to assist with foreign currency convertible bond cases. Sectors of focus include oil and gas, finance and pharmaceuticals.

Strengths Clients value the firm's pragmatic outlook: "They understand the law but they're also very practical - they don't just want to fight and fight, they'll give you practical solutions."

Another client adds: "My experience with them has been fantastic."

Work highlights Represented Essel Gwalior Shivpuri Toll Roads in High Court proceedings against the National Highways Authority of India and Bank of India. The dispute was concerning the opposing parties' attempt to invoke bank guarantees worth INR50 crore.

Defended the Competition Commission of India against appeals brought by two major pharmaceutical companies before the Competition Appellate Tribunal, in relation to penalties imposed for alleged bid-rigging in public health procurement tenders.

Significant clients Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, JPMorgan Chase, Indian Oil, Chambal Fertiliser, HSBC.

Notable practitioners

Key contacts include Sandeep Mahapatra and Durgesh Khanapurkar.

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Kochhar & Co - Dispute Resolution

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: KV Singh and Dhruv Wahi
- 9 partners
- 36 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A robust firm, active across the full spectrum of disputes, including infrastructure, IP and banking litigation, as well as international arbitration. Additionally active in employment, energy and power matters, acting for a mix of domestic and international entities. Clients benefit from the team's pan-India presence along with its extensive cross-border offering.

Strengths Sources explain that the firm is "very quick to respond, and they deliver very high-quality work."

Other interviewees state: "The team is very prompt, ethical and meticulous in its approach."

Work highlights Acted for Indian Oil in international arbitration proceedings against Sahara Energy Resource over issues stemming from a contract for the supply of crude oil.

Represented Bharat Petroleum in arbitration proceedings against Punj Lloyd in connection with disputes over an LPG pipeline project.

Significant clients Indian Oil, Everonn Education, Bharat Petroleum, HSBC, China Aluminium International Engineering.

Notable practitioners

Partner KV Singh is the main contact for this practice area.

Department profile by Kochhar & Co

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Majmudar & Partners - Dispute Resolution

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Neerav Merchant and Akil Hirani
- 4 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for An esteemed firm with expertise across the spectrum of commercial and regulatory disputes, including IP, banking and shareholder litigation. Frequently handles contentious cross-border work for large multinationals, particularly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Considerable experience in High Court and Supreme Court cases, as well as international and domestic arbitration.

Strengths Market commentators note: "The advice they gave was quite wholesome and had long-term vision."

Another adds: "The firm is very competitive and the partners provide practical advice and solutions to the client."

Work highlights Defended Hertz International against a dispute brought by Carzonrent before the Delhi High Court, whereby Carzonrent challenged an arbitration award obtained by Hertz International.

Represented Wockhardt Hospital in filing an appeal before the Maharashtra state government in relation to an order passed by Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation.

Significant clients Portcullis Trustnet, Axis Bank, Jeumont, Lakeland Chemicals, Punjab National Bank.

Notable practitioners

Fraser Alexander has over two decades of experience in the dispute resolution arena. He specialises in contentious banking matters, and lately acted for HSBC in various disputes relating to the 2002 SARFAESI Act. Peers regard him as a "very good opponent" in this space.

Neerav Merchant has sizeable experience in contentious work. In a notable highlight, he assisted SABIC UK Petrochemicals with filing a winding-up petition against Punj Lloyd. Clients remark: "He gives pragmatic advice and he is very responsive."

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Samvad Partners - Dispute Resolution

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Poornima Hatti
- 3 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A proficient, full-service offering with national coverage and increasing cross-border capabilities. Offers comprehensive expertise, with continued strength in insolvency, IP and technology disputes. Additionally well versed in international arbitration.

Strengths The firm receives warm praise for its commitment to clients. One interviewee reports that "they are accessible all the time," and adds: "They have been extremely dedicated to fighting for our cause. We have been very happy with them."

Significant clients Dell, Diageo Holdings Netherlands, GIC Singapore, Murugappa Group, Thorogood Group.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Poornima Hatti is "hard-working and understands complex disputes," according to sources. She is also commended for her tenacious approach to litigation.

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