Shardul Shroff's brainchild to return arbitratoin to IndiaShardul Shroff's brainchild to return arbitratoin to India Exclusive: Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi managing partner Shardul Shroff will start a separate company that will offer virtual international arbitration services from India, and includes its own arbitration rules and state-of-the-art technology.

The Universal Virtual Arbitration Centre (UVAC) for domestic arbitrations, and the First Universal Virtual International Arbitration Centre (FUVIAC) targeting international arbitrations, will be launched in the coming months as a standalone company, after Shroff had started planning for it almost seven years ago.

Shroff said: “We effectively import international arbitration back to India. What we’ve lost to other countries, we can actually bring back and we don’t have to be driven all over the world.”

“It would offer a very economical, very efficient model where literally you can do arbitration from anywhere in the world, without having to travel, without hotel costs. We can eliminate all that cost.”

UVAC and FUVIAC already have their own patented rules, similar to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the ICC International Court of Arbitration, or the London Centre of International Arbitration (LCIA).

To create the rules, he said, they were assisted by two external arbitration lawyers and former Amarchand senior partner and now senior counsel Ciccu Mukhopadhaya.

Shroff told Legally India that the company would be “more of a utility” and a separate entity from Amarchand, in which he would be happy to even give stakes to law firms otherwise competing with Amarchand. “It’s not an Amarchand or only-for-me-type of story.”

Main centres had already been established in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, said Shroff, with centres also being set up Ahmedabad and Chennai.

Get tomorrow’s (Friday 16 February) copy of Mint for an exclusive in-depth interview with Cyril and Shardul Shroff, discussing Amarchand 3.0, the recent internal restructuring and the future.

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Like +1 Object -0 Anonymous 16 Feb 12, 20:45
Well done! But it's a difficult concept to implement in the face of several alternatives. And the idea of competitors of Amss buying a stake in the business is completely unrealistic. Why on earth would a Amss competitor be interested in this even for a minute. But being a progressive move let's wait and see what happens. It seems oversimplified. Also if it was so great why did it take seven years to implement.
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Like +1 Object -1 Anonymous 16 Feb 12, 20:46
Will it make money for anyone ? Seems like only Amarchand will make money on this.
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Like +1 Object -1 Anonymous 16 Feb 12, 20:49
The new nani palkhivala centre will be competition . Good for India if this can be made to work . Though a law firm running it is a big conflict for anyone else to use if opposing Amss on this. Bit simplistic !
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Like +7 Object -1 request 16 Feb 12, 21:49  interesting
Dear Mr Shroff, please drop your opposition to foreign law firms in India.
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Like +3 Object -1 Anonymous 17 Feb 12, 03:46
Why don't the Shroff brothers focus on running their law firm instead of all these gimmicks. . They are getting clobbered in market. If they distract themselves by all this , then what's left will also go!! Seems like a hobby for a bored mr. Shroff! Hope Amss has more sense than allowing all this !
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Like +1 Object -0 Anonymous 17 Feb 12, 03:50
Allow this if only foreign law firms can come and practice here! Yay !
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Like +0 Object -0 R 19 Feb 12, 11:42
How does one 'patent' rules, Kian??
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Like +1 Object -0 Views for the Editor 20 Feb 12, 02:26
Seriously whose going to be the Administrative Secretary General to this arbitration center.How will AMSS and the conflict of interest rules apply (Please refer to the IBA rules on conflict of interest, though these are for arbitrators the spirit should apply.)? Will AMSS use and actually implement and arbitrate under these rules for their own clients while their Partners pay the salaries and control the administrative functioning on the arbitration center/institution. These are questions you need to ask Shardul Shroff, Kian. The story lacks depth and all analysis Sorry Kian as a journalist who has been a lawyer we expect you to ask some tough/hard questions not just carry a Press release.
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Like +0 Object -0 harishchandra 20 Feb 12, 14:28
It appears that Mr. Shroff intends to incorporate this company to engage in the business of providing virtual arbitration services and actively be involved in the business. How will be ensure compliance with Section VII of Chapter II of the Bar Council of India Rules? Does he intend to seek the approval of the Bar Council? Please see the extract of the Rules below:

Section VII-Restriction on other Employments

47. An advocate shall not personally engage in any business; but he may be a sleeping partner in a firm doing business provided that in the opinion of the appropriate State Bar Council, the nature of the business is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession.

48. An advocate may be Director or Chairman of the Board of Directors of a company with or without any ordinarily sitting fee, provided none of his duties are of an executive character. An advocate shall not be a Managing Director or a Secretary of any company.

49. An advocate shall not be a full-time salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practise, and shall, on taking up any such employment, intimate the fact to the Bar Council on whose roll his name appears and shall thereupon cease to practise as an advocate so long as he continues in such employment.

Nothing in this rule shall apply to a Law Officer of the Central Government of a State or of any Public Corporation or body constituted by statute who is entitled to be enrolled under the rules of his State Bar Council made under Section 28 (2) (d) read with Section 24 (1) (e) of the Act despite his being a full time salaried employee.

Law Officer for the purpose of these Rules means a person who is so designated by the terms of his appointment and who, by the said terms, is required to act and/or plead in Courts on behalf of his employer.

50. An advocate who has inherited, or succeeded by survivorship to a family business may continue it, but may not personally participate in the management thereof. He may continue to hold a share with others in any business which has decended to him by survivorship or inheritance or by will, provided he does not personally participate in the management thereof.

51. An advocate may review Parliamentary Bills for a remuneration, edit legal text books at a salary, do press-vetting for newspapers, coach pupils for legal examination, set and examine question papers; and subject to the rules against advertising and full-time employment, engage in broadcasting, journalism, lecturing and teaching subjects, both legal and non-legal.

52. Nothing in these rules shall prevent an advocate from accepting after obtaining the consent of the State Bar Council, part-time employment provided that in the opinion of the State Bar Council, the nature of the employment does not conflict with his professional work and is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession. This rule shall be subject to such directives if any as may be issued by the Bar Council India from time to time.
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Like +0 Object -0 In House Counsel 21 Feb 12, 14:54
I would imagine that the managing partners of AMSS would be looking to stem the tide of mid- and senior-level departures, quell the turf wars and bring back the high value clients, rather than concentrate on creation of a white elephant.
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