New Delhi: Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), the apex body of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) organised a webinar on ‘Issues in Arbitration and Future of Virtual Hearings.’ The webinar was addressed by distinguished experts including Justice Vibhu Bakhru, Judge, Delhi High Court, Gaurav Pachnanda, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and Shourav Lahiri, Barrister-at-law, London. SCOPE’s Director General (DG) Atul Sobti gave the opening remarks and Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) Member (HR) Anuj Aggarwal gave the closing remarks.
The webinar, 7th in the series, deliberated upon critical issues of arbitration arising in Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) and how the disruptions due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) are being converted as opportunities to explore technological and digital means to conduct hearings. The interactive session received an overwhelming response as over 500 participants including board members, legal heads and other senior members of PSEs attended. Participants were also apprised about the role of SCOPE Forum of Conciliation and Arbitration (SFCA) in institutional arbitration.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru in his address stated that law metamorphosis’s itself all the time and in the times to come, arbitration is bound to grow and develop as it ensures expeditious disposal of cases. He emphasised that for arbitration to succeed as one of the modes of dispute settlement, institutes like SFCA need to be strengthened. He added that virtual hearings in arbitration are a reality and despite the challenges being faced, arbitrators need to train as it may soon become the norm.
Pachnanda spoke about how the law in India has developed with respect to the unilateral appointment of arbitrators. Speaking about virtual hearings, he said the true challenge lies in the context of trials and lawyers will require both time and practice to become comfortable with it.
Lahiri in his address spoke about International best practices being followed for selection of arbitrators and added that in International arbitration, virtual hearings have been followed for a long time as they expedite the process and are cost-effective.
Atul Sobti in his address highlighted that India has improved in Ease of Doing Business rankings as Government has taken a series of steps to make India an investment hub but steps need to be taken in the area of enforcing of contracts. He also spoke about SFCA’s role and future of arbitration through virtual arbitration.
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