S&R Associates and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan represented Cairn Energy and Cairn UK Holdings in a recently concluded international arbitration against the Indian government where Cairn was awarded US$1.2billion, together with interest and costs, on 21 December 2020. Aarna Law represented the Indian government.
The award against Edinburgh-headquartered Cairn follows the government’s retrospective taxation actions undertaken in 2014, regarding a reorganisation it undertook prior to its subsidiary Cairn India’s 2007 IPO.
It comes less than three months after the 25 September 2020 ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration that India was in breach of the Netherlands-India bilateral investment treaty when it sought taxes on Vodafone’s US$11 billion acquisition of the Indian mobile assets of Hutchison Whampoa in 2007.
S&R Associate’s team on this long-running dispute was led by partner Niti Dixit and former partner Uday Walia, and included counsel Abhishek Tewari and associate Aubert Sebastian. Walia, who is now a partner at Touchstone Partners, told India Business Law Journal that he had advised Cairn from the 2007 IPO of Cairn India until the end of arbitration proceedings, and that all hearings had concluded before he left S&R Associates.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s team was led by its New York-based partner, Mark McNeill. Aarna Law’s team was led by its founding partner, Shreyas Jayasimha.
Cairn Energy began international arbitration proceedings against Indian in 2015, under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty. The legal seat of the three-member tribunal was the Netherlands, and the proceedings were under the registry of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.