The Delhi International Arbitration Centre (DAC), formerly Delhi High Court Arbitration Centre was established by the High Court under the able leadership of its then Chief Justice Mr. Justice Ajit Prakash Shah. DAC was inaugurated on 25th November, 2009 by Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, the then Chief Justice of India in the august presence of Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, the then Union Minister for Law and Justice, Smt. Sheila Dikshit, the then Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi and Mr. Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and his Companion Judges of High Court of Delhi and Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, the then Attorney General of India. The website: www.dacdelhi.org was also launched on the day of the inauguration. The inaugural speech was made by Mr. Justice Vikramajit Sen, who was also the Vice- Chairperson of the DAC.
"The need of the hour is institutionalization of arbitration in India. Inauguration of Delhi
High Court Arbitration Centre is a momentous occasion not only for the High Court but
also for the Indian Judiciary. This Centre would act as an effective institution to realize the
objectives of ADR. With the inauguration of this Centre, we are moving a step forward to
ensure the delivery of speedy and effective justice."
(remarks of Mr. Justice Ajit Prakash Shah at the Inaugural function).
DAC is a unique effort of making ADR through arbitration a reality by achieving the twin objectives of speed with cost effectiveness. In order to fulfill this objective a set of Rules have been framed, balancing and respecting the fundamental principle of party autonomy. The time and cost effectiveness is achieved at the Centre by a Core Committee (now called Advisory committee) comprising of trained legal professionals who monitor the entire process of arbitration from inception till the end. The Core Committee is backed by an efficient Secretariat to achieve the objective of time effectiveness.
Parties can take advantage of DAC's institutional arbitration by insertion of a Model Arbitration Clause in the contract or by a separate arbitration agreement providing for the reference of an existing dispute to DAC for arbitration. In relation to existing contracts, in which disputes have already arisen, the parties can give their choice of arbitrator and preference to Court and by signing a Joint Memorandum, in any proceedings in any Court, including under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; or under sections 11, 8 or 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
The DAC rules have made arbitral proceedings speedy and cost effective. All the pleadings and documentation are completed before the first hearing and the Terms of Reference are settled by the Arbitral Tribunal in its first sitting so that the number of sittings will be limited.
The Centre also maintains a Panel of Arbitrators from where the parties can choose their own arbitrator(s), drawn from specialized fields of law, accountancy, engineering, science and technology, architecture etc. The structure of cost and fees is designed to suit litigants of all categories. The Rules also provide for summary procedure where the parties dispense with the necessity of oral evidence. All arbitration proceedings referred to the Centre would be undertaken during normal working hours.
In recognition of the fact that institutional arbitration is widely perceived, as the most effective means of securing fair, speedy and inexpensive justice, ASSOCHAM, a leading National Chamber of Commerce representing the business and commerce community of India, with a view of securing its members with the advantages of a true alternative disputes resolution mechanism, i.e. arbitration, on February 10, 2010 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Delhi High Court Arbitration Centre (DAC) in the august presence of the Union Minister for Law and Justice- Shri M. Veerappa Moily, the then Chief Justice of Delhi High Court- Mr. Justice A.P. Shah and other Judges and the President of ASSOCHAM Dr. Swati A. Piramal.
Since its inauguration, more than 600 cases have been referred to the Centre.