GAR 100 - 16th Edition

Economic Laws Practice

Economic Laws Practice

An Indian firm favoured by multinationals including Sony and Google

Pending cases as counsel10
Value of pending counsel workUS$1.2 billion
Treaty cases as counsel0
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments1 (1 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

Economic Laws Practice (ELP) 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 did not 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 20-strong practice is based in Mumbai and Delhi, though the firm also has team members in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune.

Who uses it?

The firm acts for large Indian businesses including the Tata Group, Reliance Industries, 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), Sony Pictures, Google, Honeywell, Singapore’s Trafigura, Malaysian monorail specialists Scomi Group, Germany’s RWE, Anglo-Swiss chemicals company INEOS, and engineering and construction group McDermott.  

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 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$450 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 & Engineering 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.

It also successfully acted for Japanese power sector manufacturer TAKAOKA TOKO in a SIAC claim over a power project in Sri Lanka.

Recent events

An Indian subsidiary of US conglomerate Honeywell has instructed ELP in several disputes.

The firm is representing 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 – in parallel arbitrations against an Indian company and its Seychelles promoter where the claims exceed US$150 million.

It successfully represented construction company ARSS Bus Terminal in a US$ 4.5 million dispute against state-owned company Orissa Road Transport, arising out of a concession agreement to build a bus terminal.

In May 2022, Alok Jain was promoted to partner in Mumbai. Delhi-based partner Ashish Prasad left the firm.

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 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.” 

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