ICC tribunal in Singapore decides limitation issue under Indian law

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On 25 October 2017, International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) sole arbitrator, Cameron Hassall, agreed to hear the claims of China’s Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering (Sinosteel) against an Indian iron ore processor and exporter, MSPL. Claimant Sinosteel is China’s second-largest importer of iron ore in the business of management, supervision, design and manufacture of mechanical and electrical products in sectors including metallurgy, mining and energy.

The sole arbitrator, before proceeding with the merits of the dispute, at the outset decided to deal with the limitation issue related to the claims and counterclaims of the parties, and a partial award was delivered with regard to the same.

The arbitration was conducted in accordance with the ICC Rules, 2012 in Singapore as required under contracts signed between the parties, with the law of India being the governing law of the contracts. The law of Singapore was the law governing the arbitration agreements within the contracts, as well as the procedural law governing arbitration proceedings.

The companies had entered into three contracts relating to design, engineering, supply and technical services with respect to a pellet plant in the state of Karnataka with a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum.

According to the contract, the equipment testing was to be done in three stages. The first two tests were conducted successfully, but the companies could not successfully conduct the third test.

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Ravi Singhania is the managing partner and Gunjan Chhabra is a senior associate at Singhania & Partners in New Delhi