The dispute resolution group at Economic Laws Practice excels in competition, international arbitration, regulatory and tax work. Its white-collar crimes practice is maturing and the team has seen increasing work in this space. These practices are regarded as some of the top in the country, with many peers and clients affirming their dominance in these areas. The team is proud of its in-house advocacy capabilities, which enables its lawyers to provide to clients a holistic review of all relevant matters in a dispute. The firm recently opened a new office in Gujarat.
Twelve senior lawyers are focused purely on litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution, including partners Naresh Thacker, Jitendra Motwani, Ashish Prasad, Hardik Modh and Dinesh Pednekar.
In one publishable matter, the arbitration team is busy defending Heligo Charters Private against Aircon Beibars to oppose the enforcement of a Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) award. The case raises several important legal questions. The tribunal awarded the price of goods under a contract to a party which had earlier terminated the contract. The tribunal thus granted specific performance of a terminated contract which is impermissible under the laws of UK, Singapore and India. The award remained unchallenged, and the team is opposing the enforcement of the same in India as it is opposed to Indian law. It remains to be seen whether the court is inclined to accept the argument that a foreign award should not be enforced in India if it is contrary to Indian law.
The team successfully represented Japanese transformer company Takaoka Toko before the SIAC emergency arbitrator and tribunal. The disputes involved the interpretation of a price escalation clause and whether there was a breach when the bank guarantee was not extended by the client. During the pandemic, this was possibly the first arbitration to involve an emergency interim relief application. The final award was passed in favour of the client.
The firm represented Dutch client, Elster-Instromet BV before the Bombay High Court in an appeal against an interim relief granted against the client by its joint venture partner, Mrunal Gandhi. The disputes pertain to allegations of breach of non-compete. The client has counter-claimed prior breaches by Mrunal Gandhi and terminated the JV agreement.
In a key tax dispute, the tax litigation team acted for Adani Wilmar in a dispute with the government on whether Social Welfare Charge (SWS) is payable when the basic customs duty is exempted in terms of various notifications. The case has a far-reaching impact as to whether SWS, which is essentially a duty paid on the basic customs duty, is payable when the basic duty is exempted. Once the matter is decided, its impact will be applicable pan-India as many other importers are facing similar issues with the department on this front.
The firm welcomed litigation and arbitration partner Mumtaz Bhalla from L&L Partners in the summer of 2021.
Notable recent clients of the firm are All Cargo Logistics, Advanced MedTech Solutions, Cargo Motors, Coca-Cola, Duff & Phelps, INX Media, Lex Sportel Vision and Tata Sons.
“The team at ELP is a pleasure to work with. The lawyers are smart, hard-working and good with clients. They make it easy to combine and provide a comprehensive team to a client.” – Construction
“Great commercial and strategic advice and client management.” – Commercial and transactions
“Blending the legal advice with practical solutions is their strength.” – Tax
“Naresh combines high technical legal ability with a real understanding of the construction industry and the arbitration of their disputes.”
“Brilliant leadership and commercial acumen.”
“He is very thorough from a legal perspective and his ability to blend practical perspectives makes him a go-to lawyer.”
“He is a very able leader who works hard with the team.”
“Ashish Prasad is sharp, pragmatic in his advice and knows how to navigate tough issues. His client care is excellent. He is ably supported by junior partner, Mukta Dutta. The team works very hard and are at the top of the market in terms of quality.”