Interview with Mr. Veeraraghavan Inbavijayan (Advocate/ International arbitrator and mediator)

Hello Everyone, here we Invited another Person Mr. Veeraraghavan Inbavijayan, an Advocate & international arbitrator and mediator.

1. Firstly, we asked him about his brief background of educational qualification.

He said, I am a bachelor in law from Dr. Ambedkar govt. Law College which was earlier attached with university of Madras, in the year 1997. It was 5 years integrated course (BALLB). Later, I got enrolled as an advocate in the bar council of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry in September 1997. I started my carrier as an advocate in Madras high court from 1997 and for the 4 years I was into general practice including some commercial litigation attached with southern law chambers of Madras high court. During that period, I got an exposure with arbitration. It was a big arbitration wherein one of the state electricity boards had a dispute with investor in a pawapachis agreement. After 2001, I entered into arbitration as a whole time arbitration practitioner and during that process I was recognized fellow of CHARTED INTITUTE OF ARBITRATION which is one of the largest professional bodies in this world to deal with persons who is an arbitrator.

2. How did you gain expertise needed to be an arbitrator?

I gain all my expertise from the trial court. The initial 4 years of my exposure from 1997 to 2001, I had an opportunity to work in all types of dispute starting from personal matter to larger complex commercial disputes in all these I got exposed because the courts had been referring matters to all these ADR mechanism. Wherein, I got an initial exposure along that I had an opportunity to interact with chamber of commerce. I had an opportunity to initially advice the members and I found that the members were not comfortable with the normal litigation process. So, it was all self studied wherein I got the initial knowledge of arbitration.

3. Sir, what do you think as an arbitrator makes good arbitrator?

I think, to be a good arbitrator one shouldn’t solicit. Solicit is an appointment. Second is arbitrator should have all the four moral responsibility that is impartial, unbiased, neutral and obviously independent.

4. Sir, what are the primary duties of an arbitrator?

Primary duty of an arbitrator is very clear. It is what mandate he has been nominated, he has to effectively complete it within a reasonable time and a modest cost.

5. Sir nowadays arbitration is very popular in India, how can we start practicing as an arbitrator or become an international arbitrator?

In arbitration there are four roles, that is Consultant, Expert, Council, and Arbitrator. You have to start as an consultant obviously anyone can be a consultant advising the parties then, you can come a council that is you have to appear on behalf of some litigants before arbitrator, then, you will became an expert and  ultimately you can fit as arbitrator. Parallel to that, you have to develop your expertise by writing an article related to ADR or specifically related to arbitration. Then, you can speak in many conferences. Initially you will get an opportunity to be a participant only. Then, based on your articles you will be reached by interesting personalities and they will invite you to be a speaker. Once you speak in all these conferences you will get an opportunity to reach and become an arbitrator begin with domestic and become international arbitrator.

6. Sir, any difficulties you faced to reach here as it stands today?

Even now I am young, only difficulty I faced was age. Age is a barrier, normally sitting as an arbitrator the general conception the parties have in their mind that the person has to be above 60 years, grey hair, and bald head that is well experienced. So, age alone I felt is barrier.

7. Sir, can you talk about the time when your decision making skills played an importance role?

When it comes to decision making surely in arbitration ultimately we are going to give an award. But, what I felt is that this process is going to benefit the parties instead of an arbitrator deciding or making a decision on a particular dispute, it might be difficult but, always better to facilitate a settlement as an arbitrator. Instead of deciding the case the arbitrator can always go for settling the dispute with the consent of the parties and go with the settlement award.

8. Sir, if you had to pick any one skill as an arbitrator what skill you will pick as a most important skill for an arbitrator?

As an arbitrator very important skill or as I can say important requirement is availability. The arbitrator should be available.

9. Sir, can you tell us about your work engagements?

I can’t disclose the parties’ name. But, it is of various natures. It is of engineering construction disputes. Then, it involved on capital market dispute and some large arbitration wherein major construction activities are going on. There are generally disputes between individuals. So, there are various kinds of disputes I am dealing right now.

10. Sir, what is your take on arbitration laws in India?

The act of 1996 is amended twice that is in 2015 and 2019. Amendment of 2015 is welcomed one to make India hub for arbitration, additionally for international arbitration. But, 2019 amendment certain provisions were somewhat impairment for India to be a hub for international arbitration.

11. Sir, what is your take on transparency of International Commercial Arbitration (ICA)?

In my personal note it should not be transparent. The transparency should only be there in Investor state arbitration like – ICSID other commercial arbitration transparency should not be there because it is very basic and fundamental spirit of arbitration that is confidentiality. So, confidentiality should be there and transparency should not be there is ICA.

12. Sir, what is the most interesting or difficult case you have settled till now?

There are many I have come across. The interesting thing in one of my arbitration, my own law teacher was there as a council appearing before me and he was representing the litigant who was former senior most judge of a high court and the dispute luckily got settled and the amount involved was huge was above 50 crore.

13. Sir, what do you think about our website E- Justice India?

I have gone through this website basically, it is good. But, you have to work for making it user friendly in mobile also. I felt some difficulty while dealing with it in my mobile.

14. Sir, any message you would like to give to our reader?

Eventually as an advocate and arbitrator, I want all the reader at least try to take one of their cases in any of these ADR mechanism. They can facilitate mediation, conciliation along with arbitration.

We extend our vote of thanks to Mr. Veeraraghavan inbavijayan (adv. And international arbitrator) for sharing his inspiring story with us. Thank you so much sir.

Interviewer : Bhabya Rani

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