The liberalization of the economic policies and the subsequent entry of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) in the country led to the creation of wealth and strengthening of the Indian economy but also resulted in cases of disputes regarding cross-border transactions among corporate entities. Most of the time the agreed-upon mechanism for dispute resolution was arbitration and the necessity of knowledge about international law facilitated the entry of international lawyers in India. With the passage of time, local professionals also acquired sufficient expertise in the domain and one can find some of the top law firms in India now. Arbitration has emerged as not only an effective method of settlement of disputes but has also become a good career option for lawyers with some of the top law firms in India hiring professionals who specialize in the domain. The better prospects for a legal professional in the field can be highlighted with the help of the following three points :
1. Necessity In A Country Like India
In a country like India which is beset with pending court cases and according to National Judicial Data Grid a whopping 27759301 cases of all types awaiting judgment in various courts spread over the country (as checked on September 4, 2018), an alternative route of resolution is not a luxury but a necessity. The judge population ratio in the country is also among the poorest in the world and instead of adding another case to the already stressed judiciary, it is better to use other methods among which arbitration is one of the most effective ones. Anyone, whether an individual or organization can benefit from the process, as it is bound to be quicker and economical than looking to resolve a matter through a court of justice.
2. Most Businesses Adopting The Alternative Route
One of the most common features of any document like a contract used by commercial organizations to enter into an agreement with another party is the presence of the arbitration clause. It is agreed right at the beginning by both sides that in case of any dispute, the preferred route of the settlement will be this alternative method. This only goes to highlight the fact that businesses are increasingly favoring this method over the traditional form of resolution- litigation. In case of a conflict arising over any aspect of a cross- border transaction, enterprises want the matter resolved as per international laws and therefore choose arbitration for the purpose. Most international lawyers in India are involved in providing counsel to their clients in cases that are being settled through this route.
3. Pro-arbitration Stance Of The Judiciary And The Government
Earlier this year the Supreme Court of India barred the entry of international lawyers in the country for litigation or non- litigation work but permitted them to provide counsel in matters related to international commercial arbitration. The court also while hearing another case validated the two-tier arbitration clauses and also recognized composite reference of interconnected contracts in international as well as domestic arbitrates. The government also introduced some changes to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 through the Arbitration And Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the parliament earlier this year which was subsequently passed by the Lok Sabha. The proposed amendments have been devised with the motive of strengthening the mechanism and making the country a central location for international as well as domestic arbitration. All these developments indicate the willingness of the judiciary as well as the government to recognize and popularize this effective way of dispute settlement.
The permission of the Supreme Court to allow international lawyers in India to provide counsel in arbitration matters and other steps by the government apart from the tendency of corporations to choose the alternative for dispute resolution only underlines the trend that the prospects for legal professionals opting to work in the domain are exceptionally bright.