Council of Arbitration

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[edit] General Information

  • Official name: Council of Arbitration
  • Country: India
  • City: New Delhi
  • Type of organization: Non-profit organization
  • Date of creation: 1965
  • Interests: Arbitration – Conciliation - Mediation
  • Fields of expertise: Industrial and trade disputes

[edit] Description

In most of the industrialised countries, central or national arbitral organisations have been established which provide facilities for arbitration of commercial disputes. They enjoy unique prestige and confidence of the trade and industry. In India, the Indian Council of Arbitration established in 1965 is the apex arbitral organisation at the national level.

The main objective of the Council is to promote the amicable and quick settlement of industrial and trade disputes by arbitration. The Government of India, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the other important Chambers of Commerce and trade associations in India as well as export promotion councils, public sector undertakings, companies and firms are in its membership.

The Council provides facilities for settlement of international commercial disputes also by arbitration. Its Rules of Arbitration have recently been revised based on the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. These Rules are of international standard and they provide a guarantee wished for by the trade for quick and just settlement of the dispute. It maintains a panel of arbitrators consisting of Retd. Judges, Advocates, Shipping Experts, Chartered accountants, Chartered Engineers, Businessmen, Foreign Nationals and Executives having specialization in more than 20 fields. The Council has entered into arbitration service agreements with important foreign arbitral institutions in more than 30 countries to administer arbitrations under their rules if arbitration is held in India.

The Council also provides arbitration services for settlement of maritime disputes arising out of charter party contracts and it has framed maritime arbitration rules for such disputes. The Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India has recommended the use of the ICA arbitration clause in the charter party contracts so that dispute, if any, can be settled under the ICA maritime arbitration rules.

To provide technical knowledge on Arbitration Laws and Alternative Dispute Resolution procedure, the Council organises Conferences/training programmes (National and International), publishes literature and provides advisory services to business organisations and arbitration practitioners on trade terms and arbitration clause.

[edit] Rules of Arbitration of ICA

The ICA has framed its rules of arbitration comparable to international standards for conduct of arbitration proceedings. The 1996 Act provides statutory recognition to conciliation as a distinct mode of dispute settlement and contains detailed procedure governing arbitration and conciliation proceedings. Under the rules of arbitration of the ICA, either a sole arbitrator or three arbitrators may be appointed. Where the claim is below rupees one crore, a sole arbitrator is appointed, unless the two parties agree that three arbitrators should be appointed for the particular case. For claims above rupees one crore, three arbitrators are appointed, unless the parties agree that a sole arbitrator may be appointed. The sole arbitrator is appointed by consent of the parties and, failing such consent, the Council appoints the sole arbitrator. Where three arbitrators have to be appointed, each of the parties appoints one arbitrator and the Council appoints the third arbitrator who acts as the Presiding Arbitrator of the arbitral tribunal.

Under institutional arbitration in India, the parties are free to choose their arbitrators from panel of arbitrators established by the institution. The panel of arbitrators maintained by the ICA includes about one thousand five hundred persons from various professions and businesses, lawyers, chartered accountants, engineers etc. They are put on the list by the Arbitration Committee after the latter is satisfied about their competence, integrity and impartiality to act as arbitrators. The list also includes foreigners.

[edit] ICA Arbitration Clause

The Ministry of Commerce and the Department of Public Enterprises had issued circulars to Central Public Undertakings, Govt. Departments, from time to time recommending use of ICA arbitration services and its clause in agreements entered into by them with private parties. As a result, many disputes involving foreign parties have already been referred to the Council and the awards given.

Still a large number of public undertakings and Govt. departments have evolved their own system for settlement of disputes by appointing officials of the same department as arbitrators. The Ministry of Commerce, Government of India has addressed a communication to all departments of the Government of India, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), commodity boards and apex chambers of commerce and industry, recommending them to consider use of ICA's services and its arbitration clause (Office Memorandum No. 37(1)/98-TPD dated 1st June, 1999 issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, is reproduced at the back inside cover). Following is the arbitration clause recommended by the Council for inclusion in all commercial contracts by the parties:-

"Any Dispute or differences whatsoever arising between the parties out of or relating to the construction, meaning and operation or effect of this contract or the breach thereof shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the Rules of Arbitration of the Indian Council of Arbitration and the Award made in pursuance thereof shall be binding on the parties."

[edit] Fast Track Arbitration

The special feature of the rules of arbitration of the Council is the fast track arbitration under which parties may request the arbitral tribunal before the commencement of the arbitration proceedings to settle disputes within a fixed time frame of 3-6 months or any other time frame agreed by the parties. Under fast track arbitration, the arbitrators have to decide the matter within the time frame on written submission without oral hearings. This will inspire confidence in the foreign investors who want to dispose of the matter in a minimum timeframe to reduce the number of hearings and ultimate reduction of substantial cost, which is the objective of arbitration.

[edit] Rules of Conciliation

Apart from arbitration facilities, the Council provides its good offices for amicable and quick settlement of international trade complaints and disputes through conciliation and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). The Council has framed its Rules of Conciliation based on UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules to provide conciliation proceedings in an economical and expeditious manner. Conciliation is carried out mainly through correspondence with a view to bringing the parties around to an amicable settlement of disputes. Sometimes personal meetings with the concerned parties are also arranged. As a result of conciliation a number of trade complaints are settled amicably to the satisfaction of both the parties. However, there is no legal sanction with the Council to compel the parties to any particular solution of the dispute. The Council also plans to offer orientation programmes on conciliation and mediation to its arbitrators through video-cassettes on the techniques of conciliation and mediation and also organising special lectures on the subject by foreign experts. The Council maintains a list of conciliators and mediators for use by the parties in conciliation proceedings.

[edit] Rules of Maritime Arbitration

The Council also provides arbitration services for settlement of maritime disputes arising out of charter party contracts and it has framed maritime arbitration rules for such disputes. The Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India has recommended the use of the following arbitration clause in the charter party contracts so that disputes, if any, can be settled under the ICA maritime arbitration rules. Following is the clause recommended by the Council in all maritime contracts:

"All disputes arising under this charter party shall be settled in India in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act 1996 (No. 26 of 1996), and under the Maritime Arbitration Rules of the Indian Council of Arbitration. The Arbitrators to be appointed from out of the Maritime Panel of Arbitrators of the Indian Council of Arbitration. The arbitrators shall be commercial men."

[edit] Network of ICA Service Agreements with Foreign Arbitral Organisations

In order to provide arbitration services under the Rules of Foreign Arbitral Organisations, the Council has entered into arbitration service agreement with important arbitral organisations including international in different parts of the world viz. USA, UK, Russian Federation, Canada, Italy, Germany, Singapore, Australia etc. Some agreements provide for conduct of arbitration proceedings by the Council under the rules of respective foreign arbitration organisations, if the arbitration hearings are held in India.

[edit] ICA Lawnet - Online Service of ICA

The Council has a special website on Internet called ICANET to provide information on Arbitration and Commercial Laws. This website has been developed and hosted on behalf of the Council by BISNET INDIA, the business information services network of FICCI. This website provides complete information about the New Arbitration Law and Rules as well as the services of the Council. Members can obtain from this website, updated information about the activities of the Council. The Council is making efforts to compile information about arbitration law and procedures in different countries through this website.

[edit] Regional and State-Level Offices of ICA

The Council has developed its infrastructure facilities and has its regional offices at Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai and also state-level offices of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubneshwar, Hyderabad, Pune, Cochin, Guwahati, and Jaipur in order to cater to the needs of users of arbitration in respective regions and to generate awareness about the advantages of arbitration in trade disputes.

[edit] Contact

Indian Council of Arbitration Room 112, Federation House. Tansen Marg, New Delhi 110001 - India

Phone: 91-11-23719103, 23319760, 23319849, 23738760-70

Fax: 91-11-23320714, 91-11-23721504


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