An Indian firm favoured by multinationals including Sony and Google
|Pending cases as counsel||10|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$1.2 billion|
|Treaty cases as counsel||0|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||1 (1 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||1|
Economic Laws Practice was formed in 2001 with a focus on commercial and tax law. Its arbitration practice was 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 moved on.
The practice is now led by Naresh Thacker in Mumbai. Thacker has over two decades of disputes experience under his belt and is dual qualified in India and England and Wales.
Originally, the practice didn’t deal with disputes worth more than US$20,000. Now, the figure can range from US$10 million to over US$1 billion. 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, Switzerland and the US, under a variety of international laws and institutional rules.
Most of the 15-strong practice 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, Bank of India, 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, Dubai Aviation Corporation, APM Terminals (part of Denmark’s Maersk Group), Sony Pictures, Google, US-based XCoal Energy and Resources, Honeywell International, Singapore’s Trafigura Group, Malaysian monorail specialists Scomi Group, Germany’s RWE, Anglo-Swiss chemicals company Ineos, and engineering and construction group McDermott.
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 Hiranandani and his son, Darshan, against an LCIA India claim by Hiranandani’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.
An Indian subsidiary of US conglomerate Honeywell has instructed ELP in several disputes. It has also been acting for Turkish construction company Fernas, Japanese power sector manufacturer Takaoka Toko and Ecoppia Scientific, a solar industry automated cleaning company.
Another ongoing matter is for India’s IDBI Bank in enforcement efforts arising from pending claims against an infrastructure company.
ELP has also 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 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.
The firm hired Mumtaz Bhalla as a partner in Delhi.
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 Rohit 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.”
Since its inception, Economic Laws Practice (ELP) has continually evolved to optimally respond to changing market dynamics and emerging client requirements. The firm today boasts a strength of 54 partners and more than 220 professionals (who include lawyers, sector specialists, chartered accountants, economists and company secretaries other than lawyers), across seven (7) offices in the country.
Today, ELP has an extensive client base across multiple industry sectors with clients from Fortune 500 Companies, Public Sector Undertakings, Multi Nationals, Indian Corporate power houses and even start-ups. We work closely with leading global law firms in the UK, USA, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, giving us the ability to provide real-time support on cross-border concerns.
ELP has been consistently recognized as one of the leading Dispute Resolution firms in the country and our Partners are acknowledged as leading individuals in this practice in India. Our Dispute Resolution Practice is built on the strength of a team that is not only at the forefront of legal knowledge and research skills but has also prides itself on diversity and depth of experience and represents the clients across fora and practice areas from inquiry & investigations stages right up to the Supreme Court of India, paying a dual role of Solicitor and Counsel, which sets us apart from other practices in India.
Recognized internationally as a thought leader in India for arbitration, ELP has represented clients in proceedings before various institutions such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), LCIA India, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA), The Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA), Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA), etc. and in Ad-hoc proceedings around the world.
Some of our awards include:
- Global Arbitration Review’s GAR100 (9th – 15th Editions) – Recognized and recommended for arbitration expertise. Only 2 firms from India feature in the GAR 100 2021 global list – of which one is ELP.
- Chambers Global & Chambers Asia-Pacific 2010-2022 – Leading Firm for Dispute Resolution
- Ranked amongst the top firms in India in the RSG report
- AsiaLaw Profiles 2014 to 2021 – Highly recommended for Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- Recognized as the Top Law firm in India for Dispute Resolution by Forbes India’s Legal Powerlist
- The Legal 500 Asia- Pacific 2016 to 2022 – Top Tier for Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- Forbes Legal Powerlist 2021 – Top law firm for Litigation