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Balaji’s Chennai writ petitioners sue London Court of Arbit for foreigner back-door entry


One year after it first sued 41 foreign laws firms, the Association of Indian Lawyers (AIL) has filed a case against the Delhi-based London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), wanting to excise the words “London Court” and alleging that the arbitration organisation is introducing foreign law and lawyers under the garb of arbitration.

“The defendant (LCIA) is trying to circumvent the law by allowing foreign legal practitioners to provide professional legal services in the grab of conducting arbitration,” online legal wire Law et al. News cited the AIL’s petition.

Law et al. reported that the Delhi High Court on Monday (30 May) issued notice to the Delhi office of the LCIA after hearing the arguments of senior counsel Ranjan Mukherjee, who was representing petitioner Chandrashekhar Pal, a member of the Association of Indian Lawyers.

Mukherjee reportedly argued before the court that LCIA by using “London Court” in its name tried to create an impression that it is a part of the London Municipal Court, which would mislead Indian litigants.

“The petitioner has alleged that the arbitration agency has tried to create a parallel system of administration of law in defiance to the prevailing judicial system in India. It said that LCIA has formulated its own system of delivery of justice contrary to the laws formed in the India which is a violation of the Constitution of India,” reported Law et al.

Justice J R Midha, before whom the case was listed as 1245/2011 Association of Indian Lawyers Vs. M/S London Court of International Arbitration And Ors, has also issued notice to the Bar Council of India (BCI), the central government and the Delhi state bar council. The next date of hearing fixed by the court for all the respondents to respond is 25 July, said Law et al.

LCIA India’s registrar Ajay Thomas declined to comment when contacted by Legally India saying that he was yet to receive court notice or any other credible intimation/information regarding the case.

In March 2010, the same society of lawyers called the Association of Indian Lawyers had filed a writ petition against the entry of foreign law firms through petitioner A K Balaji and the case has since then languished in the Madras High Court.

An AIL member at the organisation’s Kolkata head office confirmed to Legally India that the AIL was aware and condoned the LCIA litigation.

LCIA opened its Delhi office in early 2009, while the Paris-headquartered International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Court of Arbitration opened a chapter in India around 2001. The Singapore-based Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has marketed itself to India and has become a popular destination for Indian arbitration disputes.

Photo by Ignacio Garcia

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