GAR 100 - 13th Edition

Economic Laws Practice

Professional notice

Instructed by the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for a billion-dollar dispute over an abandoned power plant

Pending cases as counsel4
Value of pending counsel workUS$819.5 million

Economic Laws Practice was formed in 2001 with a focus on commercial and tax law. Its arbitration practice was co-founded four years later by Vikram Nankani and Madhur Baya. Baya left to set up his own firm in 2013; two years later Nankani, who had by then been appointed senior counsel, also departed

The practice is now led by Naresh Thacker in Mumbai.

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.

Network

Most of the team is based in Mumbai and Delhi, though the firm also has team members in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune.

Who uses it?

Large Indian businesses including the Tata Group, Reliance, Larsen & Toubro, Essar, Welspun and Sterlite Technologies. Most of Adani Group’s arbitrations are conducted by ELP, whether in the coal, commodities or oil and gas sectors. Indian property tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani has also used the firm.

International clients of note include Dubai Ports World, APM Terminals (part of Denmark’s Maersk Group), Sony Pictures, US-based XCoal Energy and Resources, Honeywell International, Germany’s RWE and Anglo-Swiss chemicals company Ineos.  

Track record

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 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.

Together with DLA Piper, ELP defended Niranjan Hiranandani and his son Darshan against an LCIA India claim by Niranjan’s 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 2016.

The firm successfully defended Malaysian client Imartek against a claim of more than US$55 million brought by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, also winning a US$4 million counterclaim.

UAE-based engineering procurement company Global Supplies has used ELP in three separate ICC disputes with no direct link to India. 

One of these cases ended well for ELP’s client; the firm brought a jurisdictional challenge, which was accepted by the tribunal, and Japanese company Elliott Ebara Turbomachinery Corporation withdrew its claims.

In another case, the firm defended the client against a US$47 million claim brought by Korean company POSCO Plantec over supply of equipment for the expansion of an oil refinery.

Recent events

The State of Jammu and Kashmir has selected ELP to represent it in a number of arbitrations, the largest of which is worth US$1.45 billion and relates to a power purchase agreement.

ELP been representing two arms of the Tata Group – Tata Sons and Tata Capital Financial Services – in parallel arbitrations against an Indian company and its Seychelles promoter where the claims exceed US$150 million.

The firm is also advising DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals in challenging a US$47 million award in favour of Hindustan Antibiotics over the manufacture of penicillin. Proceedings are pending before the Pune District Court.

ELP has also been defending Essar Oil against claims brought by Indian Oil Corporation concerning a “take or pay” obligation in a gas supply agreement. The dispute has been valued at over US$103 million.

Recently promoted partner Rhia Marshall Banerjee and associate manager Vaishnavi Chillakuru have left the firm’s Mumbai office, where Abhileen Chaturvedi and Alok Jain have meanwhile been promoted to associate partner.

Client comment

Oswald D’Souza, group legal head at L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering Limited, praises the firm’s “dedicated and energetic professionals” who possess “knowledge, a pragmatic outlook to issues, and the ability to find out-of-the-box solutions”.

Speaking of Thacker and Jain, he says: “[Their] knowledge of the working of various businesses […] makes communication of business-related disputes and issues easier for a client. We were immediately impressed with their proficiency and accomplishments.” 

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 180 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.

Key Contacts:

Suhail Nathani
Managing Partner
[email protected]

Naresh Thacker
Partner
[email protected]

Ashish Prasad
Partner
[email protected]

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