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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

AZB & Partners

01 March 2017

Acting for India’s Tata in a billion-dollar telecoms dispute

People in Who’s Who Legal 1

AZB was born in in 2004 from a merger between CZB & Partners in Mumbai and Ajay Bahl & Company in Delhi. Today the firm has five offices in India. It formerly enjoyed a “best friends” agreement with Clifford Chance.

The firm has moved away from Indian law firms’ traditional family-style structure and has been praised for its clear partnership track.

AZB’s reputation owes much to the personality and profile of founding partner Zia Mody. She spent three years as vice president of the LCIA and has acted in numerous cases under that institution’s rules, as well as those of the ICC, SCC, LMAA, SIAC and UNCITRAL. Percival Billimoria is another strong name who, like Mody, has a broad range of experience in other areas alongside arbitration.

Who uses it?

Enercon India, HSBC and General Atlantic Singapore have retained AZB in recent years. Past clients include Vedanta Resources, the Tata Group, KPMG, Philip Morris, Dhariwal Industries, Bank of New York Mellon, Lehman Brothers and US cable television network ESPN. It’s also known to have acted for controversial Indian property developer Kabul Chawla and his company BPTP.

Recent events

In one of its highest-profile cases, the firm defended Tata Sons in an LCIA claim brought by Japan’s largest mobile operator NTT Docomo over a telecoms venture. The arbitration ended in June 2016 with an award against Tata worth US$1.17 billion. AZB is now helping Tata to resist enforcement of the award in India.

In 2015, the firm defended Swiss luxury goods group Richemont in proceedings filed by an Indian distribution partner, successfully persuading the Indian Supreme Court to refer the claims to arbitration. It also convinced the court to quash parallel criminal proceedings filed against the client.

The firm hired two new partners, Vijayendra Pratap Singh in New Delhi and Ratnadeep Roychowdhary in Mumbai.