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It is believed that substantial sums amounting to several crores of rupees are locked up in many contractual disputes in the Construction Sector alone in India. The Construction Industry therefore felt the need to introduce new measures so that disputes are resolved in a fair, speedy and cost efficient manner.

With a view to providing an institutional mechanism for resolution of construction and infrastructure related disputes, the Construction Industry Development Council, India (CIDC) in cooperation with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has set up an Arbitration Centre in India called the Construction Industry Arbitration Council (CIAC). CIAC is a Registered Society with its headquarters in New Delhi. Arbitration under the auspices of the CIAC will have the following features:

    • Speed; The CIAC Arbitration Rules provides for tight timelines for appointment of arbitrators and for rendering of the award. Under the CIAC Arbitration Rules, the arbitrator will have to make a reasoned award within 45 days from close of hearing.
    • Trained Arbitrators: The panel of arbitrators of CIAC consists of professionals from the construction industry as well as the legal fraternity. They have gone through formal training before being admitted to the panel. As on today, approx 140 arbitrators have been trained and certified in arbitration workshops conducted in India and Singapore and have been admitted to the panel.
    • Strict Code of Ethics for Arbitrators: An arbitrator is appointed to a particular case only after availability and conflict of interest checks are made. Arbitrators appointed are reminded in each assignment, of the strict Code of Ethics under which they are to conduct the arbitration.
    • Transparent management of arbitrator’s fees: To assist parties know their financial exposure to the costs of arbitration, CIAC will charge parties based on a published Scale of Fees.
    • Monitor the progress of the case: The Secretariat of CIAC will monitor the progress of the case throughout the arbitration.
    • Arranging facilities and services for hearing: The Secretariat would be able to arrange Rooms for arbitration hearings. The Secretariat would also be able to arrange transcription, translation and interpretation services. Audio and video recording facilities can also be arranged.

Construction companies, Public Sector Undertakings and Government departments choosing arbitration may consider the clear advantages of an institution-administered arbitration as opposed to ad hoc arbitrations. CIAC would be happy to answer enquires on drafting of arbitration clauses apart from recommending to the parties that they adopt its Model Arbitration Clause in their contracts.

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