Hello! Welcome back to our updates on arbitration law.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Halliburton Company v. Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd has held that English courts will apply the objective test of the fair-minded and informed observer while dealing with allegations of apparent bias in England-seated arbitrations. The Court further held that the “legal duty of disclosure, which is a component of the arbitrator’s statutory duty to act fairly and impartially, does not override the arbitrator’s duty of privacy and confidentiality in English law”.

Gujarat International Finance-Tech (GIFT) City in Gandhinagar will be the center for India’s first Maritime Arbitration Center. The Center, built under supervision of Gujarat Maritime University, will be called the Gujarat Mediation and Arbitration Centre (GMAC).

Singapore has amended its International Arbitration Act (amendment effective from 1 December 2020) to provide a default procedure for appointment of arbitrators in multi-party arbitrations. In addition to this, the amendment also recognises the power of an arbitral tribunal and/ or the Singapore High Court to enforce confidentiality obligations of parties in relation to the arbitration proceedings.

From the Docket

In Noy Vallesina Engineering SPA v. Jindal Drugs Limited and Ors., the Supreme Court set aside a Bombay High Court order and held that proceedings under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 against a foreign award were not maintainable. The Court reiterated that a foreign award cannot be interfered with even if the agreement entered into by the parties was prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in BALCO. The court held that the intention of the parties to choose London as the seat of the arbitration will make Part I of the Act inapplicable.

In Vidya Drolia and Ors. v. Durga Trading Corporation, the Supreme Court of India, overruled the ratio laid down in Himangni Enterprises v. Kamaljeet Singh Ahluwalia, (2017) 10 SCC 706 and held that a dispute arising out of a landlord-tenant relationship as governed by the Transfer of Property Act was arbitrable. The Supreme Court further held that the allegations of fraud can be arbitrable when it relates to a civil dispute. However, fraud which would vitiate and invalidate the arbitration clause was non-arbitrable. The Supreme Court further held that disputes which are adjudicated by the Debt Recovery Tribunal are not arbitrable in nature.

In Dholi Spintex v. Louis Dreyfus, the Delhi High Court held that parties were free to choose foreign law to govern arbitration proceedings between them. The Court held that an arbitration agreement is independent from the substantive contract as it does not govern the rights and obligations arising out of the substantive contract. Arbitration Agreements only govern the manner of settling disputes between the parties.

In New Morning Star Travels v. Volkswagen Finance, the Delhi High Court held that a petition for interim measures under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act cannot be disposed of ex-parte without giving notice to the respondent, especially when coercive orders are passed. It violates principles of natural justice.

In Brilltech Engineers v. Darrameks Hotels Developers, the Delhi High Court held that when the arbitration agreement provides for the arbitration of notified claims alone, the claims which are not notified in accordance with the procedure stipulated under the contract between the parties, cannot be referred to arbitration.

In Cars24 Services v. Cyber Approach Workspace LLP, the Delhi High Court held that once exclusive jurisdiction, regarding the appointment of an arbitrator under Section 11 has been vested in courts at Haryana in the agreement itself, the Court having the seat of arbitration would not be entitled to exercise jurisdiction for the appointment of the arbitrator under Section 11.

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