The International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) will appoint the presiding arbitrator in Vodafone’s BIT dispute with India, it was recently announced. The claim relates to the Indian tax authorities’ demand of approximately USD 2 billion in connection with the acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa’s Indian operations in 2007.
The formation of the tribunal has been much delayed. In 2014, India nominated former Chief Justice of India, R.C. Lahoti, as arbitrator and Vodafone appointed Yves Fortier QC. Both arbitrators then agreed to nominate Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of the ICJ as the presiding arbitrator. However, in 2015, both Messrs Lahoti and Yusuf recused themselves from the tribunal. India has since nominated Rodrigo Oreamuno to the tribunal. The party-nominated arbitrators have since been unable to agree on a presiding arbitrator, so in March 2016 Vodafone approached the ICJ to make the appointment, and the ICJ has confirmed that it will do so.
We have reported previously on the mounting BIT claims against India, including the Vodafone claim, here.