Justice A K Sikri of the Supreme Court of India, today visited the IIAC (IMC International ADR Centre) based in the heart of the business hub of South Mumbai, the commercial capital of India.

Speaking before a gathering of IIAC and IMC members, Justice Sikri mentioned how things are wonderfully different in a collaborative process like Mediation as compared to an adversarial process like Litigation – how outcomes of the most delightful kind can be achieved which cannot even be thought of as ever being part of a judgement.

He went on to explain that with regard to the Litigation process, we often hear combative words and phrases being used, like ‘we shall fight it out in court’. In reality, it is only the lawyers who do all the fighting, the parties actually in dispute with each other having hardly any say in the matter. At the most, they would be giving evidence, but there too they are restricted, on the one hand, by their own lawyers – who guide them as to how much to say and how; and on the other hand, by the opponents’ lawyers – through the type of questions they ask in cross-examinations. He then stated how things were totally different in Mediation, where the disputing parties actually had the opportunity to have their say and be heard by all.

Justice Sikri then touched upon a few war stories of actual mediation outcomes of a few court-annexed cases, each better than the other. The last one of these is worth mentioning from the commercial perspective. {The second-last, which related to a retrenched labourer was truly an eye-opener, so it shall be given a separate, special treatment, in a future post}.

The third and last case touched upon by Justice Sikri was the case of infringement of a trademark of a very well known brand. The matter was referred to mediation where, during the course of the proceedings, the mediator learnt that the defendant had invested a great deal of money to install state-of-the-art machinery to manufacture jeans which he then sold by attaching a label of the popular brand of the Plaintiffs; and how he, the defendant, would be financially ruined if an injunction is granted against him. The brand-holding company’s representatives also learnt of this ‘state-of-the-art’ machinery and, on inspecting the said plant were so impressed, that they entered into an agreement with the infringer to officially supply them under out-sourcing contracts. This was a truly win-win-win {expression supplied} situation as not only did the parties before the court benefit, but it prevented a domino effect {expression supplied} whereby the workers at the manufacturing unit too could retain their jobs.

The visit by Justice Sikri ended with some chai pe charcha, after which he took a round of the elegant Suresh A Kotak ADR Centre, before moving on to his next engagement.