Reforms in dispute resolution will incentivise investors: Law Minister Meghwal

London: The government has undertaken several steps to strengthen the judiciary and alternate dispute resolution mechanism which will act as an incentive to foreign investors and help take India-UK relations to new heights, Union Minister for Law and Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal has said.

Meghwal, who is on his first UK visit since taking charge of the portfolio last month, participated at an Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA) conference here.

He also met his British counterpart Alex Chalk to discuss bilateral cooperation in the field of law and justice on Monday.

In a special address at the second edition of ICA’s ‘Arbitrating Indo-UK Commercial Disputes’ conference organised in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the minister detailed the “far-reaching legal reforms” undertaken by the government to not only cater to foreign investor comfort level but also ease the burden on the courts.

“I am sure various reforms undertaken by the Indian government, including in the field of dispute resolution, will further act as an incentive for investors and a stimulus for increasing cooperation in various sectors and take India-UK relations to newer heights,” said Meghwal.

“As we know, trade, industry, commerce and investment can only thrive if the state policy provides a conducive business environment to the stakeholders along with a robust dispute resolution mechanism… Businesses seek the assurance of the privilege of rule of law in the Indian market; they need to be assured that the rules of the game will not change overnight in an arbitrary fashion and that commercial disputes will be resolved efficiently,” he said, highlighting steps being taken to “develop India as a hub of international commercial arbitration”.

“In order to provide a quick and robust system for resolution of commercial disputes, the government of India is working on the vision of the PM (Narendra Modi) which is more focused on providing a robust alternative dispute resolution ecosystem and strengthening the traditional dispute resolution centres,” he added.

Sujit Ghosh, the Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK, spoke of the rapid transformation underway in the India-UK bilateral economic and commercial landscape.

“This reinforces the case for greater cooperation between the two sides to strengthen the arbitration ecosystem, which would hugely contribute to the ease of doing business in the India-UK economic corridor. India-UK ties over the years have transformed into a robust, multifaceted and mutually beneficial partnership,” said Ghosh.

Justice Hima Kohli of the Supreme Court of India delivered a keynote address which covered the opening up of the country to foreign law firms on a reciprocal basis, which she said offers opportunities for young talent to compete with peers in the West and enables Indian law firms to learn from growth global best practices.

“Additionally, these regulations will help address concerns about the influx of foreign direct investment and establish India as a hub for international commercial arbitration. It is worth noting that India boasts of the largest number of English-speaking common law educated lawyers worldwide,” she pointed out.

Harish Salve, a barrister at Blackstone Chambers in London and former Solicitor General of India, shared his expertise and said it was time for all stakeholders to come together and make India the “next hub of arbitration” akin to London.

The conference commenced with opening remarks from Arun Chawla, Director General of the ICA and FICCI, who noted that the India-UK business environment calls for a robust dispute resolution tool.

The ICA conference, now in its second edition, has been conceived as a significant platform for exchange and collaboration between legal professionals, policymakers and experts to deliberate on developments in the field of global arbitration and India’s growing ecosystem around it.