Justice Yashwant Varma

Indian Arbitration Forum (‘IAF’) organised the International Arbitration Dialogues on 07-12-2023 in collaboration with KPMG, EBC and SCC Online

The event marked the presence of Justice Philip Jeyaretnam, President of Singapore International Commercial Courts, Justice Yashwant Varma, Judge, Delhi High Court and Gourab Banerji, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India.

The programme commenced with a welcome address by Ms. Geetu Singh, Partner, Forensic Services & Expert Witnesses KPMG, India

Tejas Karia, Director, IAF, while introducing the agenda of IAF, said that “IAF promotes arbitration in India. We have IAF guidelines for conducting arbitration. We have guidelines for virtual hearings.

The panel discussion was moderated by Senior Advocate Gourab Banerji on ‘The Role of Commercial Court: Support or supplant commercial arbitration’.

On a question concerning the background of the Commercial Court Act, Justice Yashwant Varma, said that “to govern commercial litigation, the Act came in force”

On the question of understanding the dynamics of commercial courts of Singapore, Justice Philip Jeyaretnam said “Singapore has always been a commercial centre. Historically, Singapore was dealing with commercial matters”

While concluding the answer, Senior Advocate Gourab Banerji said that “India went from dealing with general to commercial matter, Singapore has always been dealing with such matters”.

Justice Yashwant Varma added that “India is having a paradigm shift in dealing with commercial matters. The Commercial Court Act has brought many changes like case management, limited appeals etc.”

On his experience with summary judgments, Justice Varma said that “matters are getting settled in summary judgments”.

Reitertaing that Singapore’s Courts has always been dealing with commercial matters, Justice Jeyaretnam remarked that “Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC’) is unique. The reason of setting up SICC was responsive to the growth and development of Singapore as a commercial hub”. He also talked about the internationalisation of judges and of lawyers.

Justice Phillip Jeyaretnam further said that when he started practice terrible backlog of cases, in a system like that everyone tries for summary judgment. But, today disputes are resolved very quickly, so no one goes for it.

Further, Gourab Banerji added that the SICC has tweaked the procedure and is evolving a more hands-on procedure.

Justice Varma further remarked that “it is not just the High Court that functions with Commercial Courts, even district courts have Commercial Courts divisions. Our Rules are kind of striking a balance between both these tiers of resolution”.

He suggested that injunctions and interim measures are important tools that a commercial judge must have.

While sharing an anecdote on patent illegality Gourab Banerjee suggested that “we need a greater degree of supervision for domestic awards”.

On the comparison between the arbitration and Commercial Courts, Justice Jeyaretnam, said that “philosophically, Courts are essential to Arbitration, as one finds justice in the Courts. He stated that Court decisions are essential, and one cannot run from that. Thus, one needs Commercial Courts.

He further said that “we are not in competition with Singapore International Arbitration Centre, but Court system is required in arbitration to get to the final results.

On the question concerning how technology is helping judges for faster justice, Justice Jeyaretnam said that “it is really helping for faster justice, as today, technology is very advanced”.

The event also marked the presence of Senior Advocate and Arbitrator Ratan K. Singh. He talked about the Society of Construction Law Biennial International Conference from 08-12-2023 to 10-12-2023.

The event ended with a vote of thanks by Geetu Singh, Partner KPMG and Shashank Garg, Advocate Supreme Court.

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