Arbitration lawyers should be considered for Senior Designations and appointment as judges on equal footing: IAF writes to CJI
Bench spoke to leading senior lawyers who reveal what the international practices are, and how such a move will aid India's quest to become an arbitration hub.
Convenors of the Indian Arbitration Forum (IAF) have written to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana urging that arbitration practitioners and litigation lawyers be considered on a level playing field for designation as Senior Advocates and elevation as judges.
The Indian Arbitration Forum is an association of leading arbitration practitioners committed to encouraging the best practices in arbitration, streamlining the conduct of arbitral proceedings, and promoting the growth of arbitration as a means of dispute resolution in India and abroad.
The letter acknowledges that the criteria for elevating arbitration practitioners may need some consideration, given that they may not have a sufficient number of reported judgments, and the fact that arbitral awards are generally confidential in nature, unless specifically challenged before the courts.
The Forum nonetheless expresses hope that these issues can be dealt with by adopting alternative criteria such as considering redacted versions of arbitral awards.
The letter also highlights that keeping arbitration practitioners at par will serve as an incentive for more lawyers to take up the practice of arbitration with the assurance that their career graph will remain unaffected by this decision. This in turn can also help address the ever-increasing issue of pendency of cases in courts and promote arbitration as a full-fledged Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism, the letter states.
Also highlighted in the letter are the stark realities of preferential treatment being accorded to litigating advocates for the purpose of judicial appointments and designations as Senior Advocates.
The letter ends with a request for according a virtual audience to IAF members so that views and concerns can be presented more effectively.