Recommendations on Arbitration: Justice B N Srikrishna Report 2017

Lex Resonance

Justice BN Krishna Committee

Mr. Justice B N Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court Chairman
Mr. Justice R. V. Raveendran, Retired Judge, Supreme Court Member
Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Judge, Delhi High Court Member
Shri K.K. Venugopal, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court Member
Sh. P.S. Narasimha, Additional Solicitor General of India Member
Ms. Indu Malhotra, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court Member
Mr. Araghya Sengupta, Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy Member
Representative of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Member
Representative of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Member
Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs Secretary Member

The high powered committee set up in the directions of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi to prepare a road map to turn India into an international hub of arbitration. The Justice BN Srikrishna Committee, set up by the Law Ministry on January 13, 2017, to suggest reforms in India’s arbitration mechanism, has recommended the reforms mentioned below. The Committee has divided its Report into three parts.

Key Recommendations

The First Part is devoted to suggesting measures to improve the overall quality and performance of arbitral institutions in India and to promote the standing of the country as preferred seat of arbitration. The Committee is also of the opinion that the National Litigation Policy (NLP) must promote arbitration in Government Contracts.

The Committee in Part II of the Report reviewed the working of ICADR working under the aegis of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs. The Institution was set up with the objective of promoting ADR methods and providing requisite facilities for the same. The Committee has preferred for declaring the ICADR as an Institution of national importance and takeover of the Institution by a statute. The Committee is of the view that a revamped ICADR has the potential be a globally competitive institution.

As regards the role of arbitrations in matters involving the Union of India, including bilateral investment treaties (BIT) arbitrations, the Committee in Part III of the Report has inter alia recommended for creation of the post of an ‘International Law Adviser’ (ILA) who shall advise the Government and coordinate dispute resolution strategy for the Government in disputes arising out of its international law obligations, particularly disputes arising out of BITs. The Committee has emphasized that ILA may be consulted by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), at the time of negotiating and entering into BITs.

The key recommendations include:
  • Key amendments in the existing arbitration laws and the establishment of Arbitration Promotion Council of India (APCI) among other suggestions.
  • The recommendations include setting up a dedicated bar for arbitration and creating special arbitration benches for commercial disputes in courts.
  • The APCI will recognize professional institutes providing accreditation of arbitrators and “interact with law firms and law schools to train advocates with interest in arbitration and with a goal to create a specialist arbitration bar comprising of advocates dedicated to the field”.
  • The committee has recommended the creation of the post of an International Law Advisor (ILA) to advise the government and coordinate dispute resolution strategy for the government in disputes arising out of its international law obligations.
  • The committee has also said the department of economic affairs (DEA) should consult the ILA at the time of negotiating and entering into bilateral investment treaties.
  • Changes have been suggested in various provisions of the 2015 Amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act with a view to making arbitration speedier and more efficacious and incorporate international best practices.

The Government of India has laid emphasis on making Arbitration a preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference for the High-Level Committee are as under:

  • To analyze & review the effectiveness of present arbitration mechanism.
  • To review the facilities, resources, funding, and manpower of existing ADR institutions.
  • To review the working of the institutions funded by the Government of India for arbitration purposes.
  • To assess skill gaps in ADR and allied institutions for both national and international arbitration.
  • To evaluate information outreach and efficacy of existing legal framework for arbitration.

Based on the foregoing, to: 

  • Suggest measures for the institutionalization of arbitration mechanism, national and international, in India so as to make the country a hub of international commercial arbitration.
  • Identify amendments in other laws that are needed to encourage International Commercial Arbitration (ICA).
  • Devise an action plan for implementation of the law to ensure speedier arbitrations.
  • Recommend revision in institutional rules & regulations and funding support
  • Advise empanelment of national and international arbitrators for time bound arbitral proceedings.
  • Suggest road map for further strengthening of research and development impacting the domain.
  • Enlist requisite steps for augmenting skill sets and professional manpower buildup for the sector.
  • Recommend measures to make arbitration more widely available in curricula and study materials.
  • Focus on the role of arbitrations in matters involving the Union of India, including bilateral investment treaties (BIT) arbitrations and make recommendations where necessary.
  • Evolving an efficient arbitration ecosystem for expeditious resolution of International and Domestic Commercial disputes.

The Committee was to submit its report within a period of 90 (ninety) days. Bottom of Form

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