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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Lex Arbitri

05 April 2018

A leading firm in India’s oil & gas and construction sectors

People in Future Leaders 1
Pending cases as counsel 16
Value of pending counsel work US$17 billion
Treaty cases 0

Lex Arbitri was created by Madhur Baya in 2013 to focus solely on international arbitration and complex commercial litigation, drawing on his experience of handling cases in a range of international arbitral venues in the US, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. Originally an accountant, Baya transferred to law and is qualified in England and Wales, as well as India. He started his career managing tax compliance and litigation for Bharat Heavy Electricals before joining Economic Laws Practice in Mumbai in 2003. He was there for a decade, graduating from tax law to international arbitration (he co-founded the specialist group in 2005 and made partner the year after).

While at ELP, Baya worked alongside Allen & Overy in advising British Gas and Reliance Industries in a claim against India over exploration rights in the Bay of Bengal. Baya brought the case over to his new firm and assisted in related Indian Supreme Court proceedings.

The boutique continues to work as co-counsel with Magic Circle and large US firms on major disputes, especially relating to natural resources, engineering, insurance and shipping. Alongside resources and engineering, the firm is popular among India’s large insurance and shipping houses.

Who uses it?

Lex Arbitri counts among its clients Reliance Industries, BP, Shell and Petron Engineering Construction. Clearwater Capital, Mahindra Group and Gaja Capital regularly instruct the firm, as does the government of the Maldives. It has acted as co-counsel with Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Singapore’s Aldgate Chambers and Derains & Gharavi in Paris.

The firm represented BP in proceedings before a judicial committee in a US$1.55 billion dispute over another gas block in the Bay of Bengal. The firm also helped Clearwater Capital prevail in a dispute with Indian state oil company ONGC.

Other recent matters include a dispute between Abengoa and Vedanta; a case on behalf of the Essar Group playing out in four jurisdictions; and claims brought on behalf of the Mahindra Group against SunEdison-owned companies relating to construction in the renewable energy sector.

Recent events

The firm won two domestic arbitration awards in the infrastructure sector last year, and resolved three other matters amicably. It has received instructions in a US$200 million international construction arbitration, a US$150 million port terminal dispute and a US$40 million investment dispute. The firm has a dozen other cases on its books, with values from US$5 million to US$20 million.

Active internationally, Baya is a member of the leadership committee for the Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s under-40 group (YSIAC) and serves on the Asia-Pacific Forum’s management committee.

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