Defended a property tycoon in a high-profile family dispute at LCIA India
|Pending cases as counsel||7|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$1.4 billion|
Economic Laws Practice was formed in 2001. Its arbitration practice was co-founded four years later by senior partner Vikram Nankani and Madhur Baya, incorporating many lawyers who had built a reputation in tax disputes work.
Baya left in 2013 to set up his own practice, Lex Arbitri, while Nankani left this year after being appointed Senior Counsel, which obliged him to set up independently.
The practice is now led by managing partner Rohan Shah and overseen by disputes practice head Naresh Thacker.
Originally, the practice didn’t deal with disputes worth more than US$20,000. Now, the figure can range from US$10 million to several hundred million dollars. Its clients are in sectors as diverse as mining, commodities, engineering and construction, shipping, insurance, infrastructure, and equipment and services.
It has conducted arbitrations in India, England, Singapore, South Korea, Germany and the US under a variety of international laws and institutional rules.
Most of the team is based in Mumbai, though the firm also has team members in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune.
Who uses it?
The firm has been instructed by some of India’s large business houses – including Tata (in disputes with Aditya Birla Group and Idea Telecom) and Reliance. Indian property tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani has used the firm in a high-profile dispute with his daughter (see below).
All of Adani Group’s arbitrations are conducted by ELP, whether in the coal and carbon, commodities or oil and gas sectors.
Multinational clients include engineering and construction group McDermott and Sterlite Technologies, which is a subsidiary of the Vedanta oil and gas group, and Malaysian crane manufacturer IMPSA, for whom it is acting in an ad hoc arbitration against Jawaharlal Nehru Port, India’s largest port. It also counts Indian multinational Welspun and Anglo-Swiss chemicals company Ineos as clients.
The firm’s reported successes at the ICC include representing India’s largest metal and mining company in a product liability claim against a German company; a Swiss multinational coal trader in a dispute with a Singapore subsidiary of India’s largest coal traders; and one of the largest Indian engineering companies in a dispute over a US$200 million EPC contract awarded in Singapore.
It also successfully represented India’s largest privately owned port in an ad hoc arbitration under English law against a state-owned insurance company – the first major insurance claim under a port package policy in India. Another client was a manufacturer of oil and gas exploration and production equipment in an ad hoc arbitration with a government enterprise over a contract for the supply of production platforms.
A case on behalf of one of the parties to a US$50 million split that involved a complex web of cross-holdings in shareholdings and properties also led to a victory for ELP.
In court, it succeeded in defending the joinder of a third party to an arbitration agreement in a Singapore arbitration by invoking “alter ego” principles. The third party had moved the Indian court to suspend the arbitration.
Together with DLA Piper, ELP defended Niranjan Hiranandani and his son Darshan against an LCIA India claim by his daughter Priya Hiranandani Vandrevala over a deal to develop property in India. Most of her US$500 million claim was knocked out, with a tribunal awarding only US$60 million against ELP’s clients in May 2016. A freezing order against Darshan’s assets was discharged by a Dubai court in February 2017.
At SIAC it is lead counsel in an ongoing English-seated dispute between Dutch and Bangladeshi parties involving both English and Bangladeshi law. It is also representing an Indian engineering client in a dispute with a Colombian party under an exclusive agency agreement.
ELP appeared in the first-ever arbitration at the new Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration, for the local subsidiary of a German conglomerate seeking payment for a coal delivery from Indonesia. The dispute was conducted under LCIA rules.
Associate partner Sumit Rai, who co-led the practice with Shah, left to set up an independent practice. The firm hired a new associate partner in Akshay Kishore, who joins from Ashurst.
Economic Laws Practice ("ELP") is a leading full-service Indian law firm established in the year 2001 by eminent lawyers from diverse fields. The firm brings to the table a unique combination of professionals which constitutes of lawyers, chartered accountants, economists and company secretaries; enabling us to offer services with a seamless cross-practice experience and top-of-the-line expertise to our clients.
ELP is recognized internationally as a thought-leader in India for arbitration. 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, with amount in disputes ranging from a few millions to billions of dollars. Our approach to commercial disputes and our industry specific expertise has ensured most effective representation of our clients.
With offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Chennai, ELP has a team of over 120 qualified professionals having professional acumen in diverse practice areas. We work closely with leading global law firms in the UK, USA, Middle East and Asia Pacific region; enabling us to provide a pan India and global service offering to our clients.
ELP is the firm of choice for clients due to our commitment to deliver excellence and has been ranked amongst the Top 10 firms in the country; with the highest Client Satisfaction score of 9/10 amongst the Top 10 firms as per RSG India Report 2015. The firm has also recently been recognized as a Tier 1 firm in India for our Dispute Resolution expertise by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016; and has won the Best Dispute Resolution Firm in India award at the Legalera Awards 2015.