There have been two recent judgments, one from the Supreme Court in India (Shri Lal Mahal Ltd v Progetto Grano Spa) and one from the English Commercial Court (Gujarat NRE Coke Limited and Shri Arun Kumar Jagatramka v Coeclerici Asia (Pte) Limited) that are likely to be of interest to clients engaged or likely to engage in arbitration.
In Shri Lal Mahal the Supreme Court in India expressly overruled an earlier Supreme Court judgment and held that enforcement of a foreign arbitral award could not be challenged on the grounds of “patent illegality”. This decision significantly reduces the ability of Indian courts to accept invitations to interfere with foreign awards and to re-consider a case on its merits.
In Gujarat NRE Coke Limited the Commercial Court endorsed the approach by which the parties entered in a settlement agreement in the course of an arbitration on the basis that the arbitration was suspended pending performance of the agreement, and an immediate award by consent was to be entered if the agreement was breached. The court confirmed that the tribunal was not in breach of its general duty to act fairly by making the consent award without allowing further substantive submissions from the respondent party. Parties entereing into a settlement agreement in the course of an arbitration may wish to consider replicating the approach taken in this matter, which is very similar to the “Tomlin Order” approach available in court proceedings.