Gunita Pahwa
Joint Managing Partner
S&A Law Offices

Complexity being inherent in infrastructure projects, where the project contracts do not define the rules and responsibilities of the people properly or if such contract obligations are not mutually respected then the projects get mired in disputes and litigation. Therefore, disputes are often inevitable in infrastructure related projects. In recent times, there have been several positive developments in dispute resolution process, including the amendment in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act in 2016.

It is extremely important for companies to maintain documents, communications and financial records because such data often plays a critical role in project execution and is admissible evidence in dispute resolution. Document and data if not collated well could lead to incomplete discovery. Relevant communication duly vetted by a legal team can prove to be instrumental in either avoiding the dispute or effectively managing it. It is also imperative that the companies adopt a single point of contact policy.

In addition, there is no need for people to be apprehensive in raising disputes or shy away from differing in an ongoing arbitration matter. Delays in raising such disputes can cause more harm than good. In case of contract management, a dedicated team ought to be in place for managing various deadlines, milestones and the contract compliances.

Lastly, cross-examination is the most important factor in any arbitration matter as it plays a crucial role in deciding the fate of the case. It is always advisable to select witnesses who are the master of the facts of that particular case or where relevant witnesses should be financial and/or technical experts.