Practice Summary

Karishma has a substantial advisory and court practice in commercial litigation and international arbitration. She specialises in business and banking disputes.

Her experience ranges from interim injunctions (including summary actions, anti suit injunctions, applications to set aside default judgments) to complex cross-border trials. Her areas of practice include shareholder disputes, directors duties, loan defaults, mis-sold swaps, corporate and personal guarantees, breach of general commercial contracts such as franchise agreements, agreements for the sale of goods. She has been instructed before the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, County Courts and Tribunals.

Karishma also has a busy international arbitration practice, mostly in cases emanating from joint venture agreements. She has been instructed on behalf of companies in the power, cement, automobile and sugar sectors. She is well versed with LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL and ad hoc arbitrations in both England and India.

Karishma has the rare expertise of being dual qualified in India and England. This makes her an attractive choice for matters involving either or both jurisdictions. She was a litigator in Mumbai for six years before relocating to London in 2009 and continues to be a favourite amongst Indian solicitors and clients.

She has developed significant expertise in matters concerning conflict of laws where one or more legs of litigation is abroad (such as before the Company Law Board in India, before the US Federal Courts or before winding up courts in Cyprus). Her international practice includes being instructed in matters before the Bombay High Court or arbitrations seated in India or Singapore.

Karishma is an alumna of the London School of Economics (LSE) and has taught Commercial Law at the LSE Summer School. She is invited to be an arbitrator for the LSE-LCIA London Vis Pre-Moot 2016. Her charitable work extends to the Bar Pro Bono Unit and Thomson Reuters’ TrustLaw.

Karishma is able to accept Instructions directly from lay clients under the ‘Public Access Scheme’ and also has the ‘Right to Conduct Litigation’.

Areas of Experience (Select to add to the CV download)

International Arbitration

Karishma is frequently instructed to:

(a) vet joint venture agreements for their dispute resolution clauses
(b) draft and appear in interim applications concerning jurisdiction, emergency relief, security for costs, anti-suit or anti-arbitration injunctions
(c) appear at trials and
(d) argue challenges from arbitration awards.
Karishma has lectured on the English Arbitration Act at Stephenson Harwood and other English law firms and authors a yearly article on landmark Indian arbitration judgments and changes to Indian arbitration law.

• Currently instructed by promoters of an Indian steel company to advise on a potential dispute arising out of a US $225 million private equity agreement. Against Clifford Chance (sole)

• Presently instructed by a top Indian steel company in (a) a Singapore seated arbitration against a Chinese company for fraudulent payments not received by it and (b) a domestic Indian arbitration seated in Mumbai against its warehouse contractor worth INR 9 crores (sole)

• Currently instructed by a major Indian steel company against a Singaporean finance house in a US $35 million LME arbitration seated in London. Against David Lewis QC (sole)

• Presently instructed to defend a London seated LCIA arbitation by an Indian cement manufacturer against a contractor for its waste hot water recycling power plant (sole)

• Advised a high networth individual against a major investment bank for being mis-sold worthless Icelandic bank bonds, following a FINRA arbitration award passed in New York (sole)

• Instructed by a Singaporean company in a London seated LCIA arbitration to defend its default payments arising out of an Acquisition Agreement worth $79 million to buy a Russian coal mine. Led by Denys Hickey

• Defended an Indian power company in an ICC arbitration seated in London, against allegations of non completion of a project in Sudan. Against Paul Toms, led by Stephen Brown

• Advised an Indian sugar company on the merits of appealing against a $2.5 million arbitration award passed by the Refined Sugar Association, UK (sole). Indian counsel included Aspi Chinoy SC and Shyam Diwan SC

• Advised on the merits of obtaining interim relief in a shipping arbitration. Led by Michael Nolan QC

• Advised an Indian pharmaceutical company in a mediation concerning repudiatory breach of contract and a claim for damages worth Euros 400,000 (sole)

Commercial Litigation

• Currently instructed by a Belgian diamond trader to lift a worldwide freezing injunction against him. Against Michael Brindle QC (sole)
• Instructed by an employee of a large Indian media company that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange to bring a claim arising out of ESOPs (sole)
• Assisted an application to set aside default judgment before the Queens Bench Division in a dispute between a Shaikh and his employee (led by Michael Beloff QC)
• Instructed in an appeal before the Privy Council from the Court of Appeal, Cayman Islands in a dispute between shareholders of an asset management company. Concerned principles of winding up (sole)
• Barclays Bank Plc v Svizera Holdings BV [2014] EWHC 1020 (Comm). Acted for Maneesh Pharmaceuticals, an Indian pharmaceutical company, in a numbers of matters including (a) Drafting Particulars of Claim for a transaction at undervalue (b) Representing it and its Dutch subsidiary in a US $35 million High Court trial involving the breach of a Facility Agreement, a currency swap and discharge of a worldwide freezing injunction (led)
• Rakesh Malhotra v Rajinder Kumar Malhotra, Rajiv Malhotra [2012] EWHC 3020 (Comm). Successfully lifted an anti-suit injunction preventing Indian clients from participating in proceedings before the Company Law Board, Mumbai. The matter was connected with a shareholder agreement worth $225 million (led by Elizabeth Weaver) (currently acting in a sole capacity against Clifford Chance in further matters arising)
• Instructed by an Indian education and real estate group in a pre-action disclosure following investor defaults in a matter that commenced with a buyback of shares (sole)
• Bikanervala Foods Limited v Athena Foods Limited. Instructed by the English franchisee of a popular Indian restaurant to defend an allegation of breach of a franchise agreement and possible trademark infringement (sole)
• Initiated unfair prejudice claims for the ousted CEO of an English company that owned iron ore mines in Brazil. The matter also concerned allegations of misappropriation of company funds (led)
• Brought a summary action before the Commercial Court to enforce a performance guarantee on behalf of an African power company (led by Vasanti Selvaratnam QC)
• Assisted in drafting a Particulars of Claim on behalf of an English insurance underwriter in a matter against its coverholder concerning the non provision of timely accounts
• Advised a pharmaceutical distribution company on product liability risks in the UK, EU and India (sole)

Banking

• Represented an Indian pharmaceutical company and its Dutch subsidiary in a US $35 million High Court trial involving the breach of a Facility Agreement, non sale of a currency swap and discharge of a worldwide freezing injunction
• Successfully lifted a High Court anti-suit injunction that prevented Indian clients from participating in proceedings in Mumbai in a private equity dispute worth $225million
• Presently advising an Indian company on the breach of an Acquisition Agreement through which it had agreed to invest US $70 million in a target company in Cyprus through a Singaporean subsidiary
• Advised a major bank where it had issued a pension fund’s cheque in breach of mandate. Advised on possible defences including estoppel and ratification

Insolvency & Company Law

• Successfully lifted a High Court anti-suit injunction by arguing that the dispute was one between the directors and shareholders of Indian companies rather than one arising out of a private equity agreement worth $225million
• Instructed by the ousted CEO of an English company that owned iron ore mines in Brazil in a matter involving allegations of misappropriation of company funds, unfair prejudice claims and shareholder disputes
• Advised HMRC, in a matter where it had assessed an equal value capital gains and capital loss transaction as tax avoidance. The Trustee in Bankruptcy entered into an agreement with HMRC to pay tax in excess of 1 million pounds after the assessee was discharged from bankruptcy
• Advised a Dutch company on liquidation and its impact on Commercial Court proceedings in England.

Professional Negligence

• Represented a law firm that had negligently advised a widow that her late husband's estate was insolvent
• Advised a law firm that had acted for a mortgagee who suffered losses due to a forfeiture clause being triggered. Advised on quantum and liability
• Assisted in updating a chapter on damages in ‘Simpson on Professional Negligence’

International

INDIA
Karishma is experienced at undertaking commercial litigation and arbitration in India including banking, company, intellectual property and disputes concerning inheritance. She has frequently appeared before the Bombay High Court, the Debt Recovery Tribunal and the Company Law Board (predecessor of the NCLT) in Mumbai, acting for clients such as Tata Capital, Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, Calyon Bank, Bank of Baroda and other individuals and business houses.

Commercial litigation in India as an advocate
• Assisting in the defence of a summary suit at the Bombay High Court. DBS Bank v Uttam Galva Steels (led by Vikram Nankani SC)
• Represented the supplier of industrial gases to a steel plant in a matter concerning the breach of a negative covenant. Inox v SJK Steel
• Successfully lifted an interim injunction that had been granted ex parte against the respondent bank in respect of a disputed letter of credit. Glencore International v Calyon Bank
• Defended a winding up petition for a company that was awarded a tender to supply wire to the Ethiopian government and had sub-contracted its manufacture to the petitioner. Sunderji Mulji v Jyoti Structures
• Represented the claimant in a matter concerning the award of a tender to construct one phase of Mumbai’s JNPT port. Great Eastern Shipping v ONGC
• Represented Titan (Tata) watches in a claim filed by the Weights and Measures Board
• Represented the respondent port in Dighi Koli Samaj v Dighi Port, a matter filed by local fishermen against the construction of a port
• Drafted an interim application in a matter concerning the division of a late father’s estate

Banking and financial litigation in India
• Represented HDFC bank in a summary suit to enforce a corporate guarantee. HDFC Bank v Priyadarshini
• Represented a high net worth individual, whose equity derivative investments had been sold at a loss by his stock broking firm without instructions, despite sufficient margin monies
• Defended a company involved in the 2001 Mumbai stock market scam that faced an order preventing it from carrying on business
• Instructed as a junior in several matters before the Special Court, a court created to deal with matters arising out of the 1992 Mumbai stock market scam
• Represented Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of India and other banks in several hearings before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (a specialist tribunal for bank loan defaults having jurisdiction equivalent to that of the High Court)
• Drafted a legal opinion for BNP Paribas, advising whether it could transfer proceedings from the state of Orissa to Mumbai

Domestic Indian Arbitration
• Presently representing a top Indian steel company in an INR 9 crore dispute against its stockyard in south India in a dispute concerning shortage and damage (sole)
• Represented Nirmal Lifestyle in an action concerning the financing of a famous suburban hotel in Mumbai that had been de-nationalised (led)
• Represented Tata Trent Ltd in an arbitration involving a dispute concerning the acquisition of premises for a new Westside store (led)
• Successfully obtained an interim order against a claim that Degustibus Hotels had waived an arbitration clause in a Business Conducting Agreement (led)
• Advised an Indian software company in an LCIA costs order

Intellectual Property in India
• Lead counsel in Fashion TV v M/s Business Inroads, a matter concerning the breach of a franchise agreement and infringement of the trade mark ‘Fashion TV’
• Successfully prevented an emergency interim application against a radio station for non payment of royalties to India’s copyright society. Phonographic Performance Ltd v Radio Mirchi
• Argued against a claim for passing off a bottled water trademark
• Assisted on a matter concerning broadcasting rights for cricket. Zee Telefilms v BCCI
• Held the junior brief in Rupali Shah v Rahlan, a dispute between the children of a film producer who had died intestate
• Conducted a disclosure exercise in Scotch Whisky Association v Khode Distilleries, a matter about the breach of the geographical indication "Scotch Whiskey"

Property disputes in India
• Lead counsel in Bhatia Constructions v Barkat Ali, an action by a construction company to regain possession of a house on their construction site
• Junior counsel in Ajit Shilpi v MCGM. Successfully prevented demolition of the client’s office erected on leasehold land, the lease having expired
• Assisted on E-City v Well Wisher Constructions, a litigation about the transfer of a property for the purpose of constructing a cinema
• Advised Deutsche Bank in a corporate loan transaction to a leading construction company

SINGAPORE
• Presently defending a major Indian steel company in a SIAC arbitration for payment made to a fraudulent bank account pursuant to a 'spoofing' email
• Advising another Indian company on whether or not to bring Singaporean proceedings under its banking and/or money lending laws
• Advised the Singaporean subsidiary of an Indian company for breach of a joint venture agreement with a Russian counterparty worth $79 million. The assets were mines held by a Cyprus company

MIDDLE EAST
• Successfully represented a Middle Eastern Shaikh in a mediation against BAE systems arising out of a distribution agreement for jet spare parts
• Represented a Middle Eastern Shaikh in a matter before the High Court in London in a matter brought by an ex employee of the Shaikh. Led by Michael Beloff QC
• Sought a legal opinion from Clyde & Co, Dubai for an LCIA arbitration stemming from an insurance dispute
• Karishma represents several residents of Dubai in arbitrations and litigations in the UK and is in frequent contact with life insurance agents, those in the pharmaceutical industry etc. in Dubai


CYPRUS
• Advised the Singaporean subsidiary of an Indian company for breach of a joint venture agreement with a Russian counterparty worth $79 million. The assets were mines held by a Cyprus company

Public Law

• Instructed by a doctor in a matter brought by the General Medical Council for charges of sexually harassing a nurse
• Successfully appealed an immigration decision refusing an ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain)
• Previously represented the UKBA (Home Office) in over 200 trials before the First Tier Immigration Tribunal

Scholarships and Prizes

Karishma won the ‘Rising Star Award’ conferred by The Lawyer Monthly Women In Law Awards 2016 Click here
Karishma was nominated for the Rising Star Award at the Society of Asian Lawyers Annual Awards 2015
BSc (Hons), LLB (first)
London School of Economics entrance grant
The Mahindra United World College entrance scholarship
The Leela Moolgaokar Award for academic excellence

Memberships

Gray’s Inn Barristers’ Committee (January 2014 – January 2017)
The COMBAR (Commercial Bar Association) and Combar India subcommittee
The IBA (International Bar Association)
The London School of Economics Lawyers Alumni Association
The Wellington Gymkhana Club, India

Languages

Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi

Articles

Indian arbitration law:  roundup of 2015, authored by Karishma Vora Full article
Indian arbitration law:  roundup of 2014, authored by Karishma Vora   Full article
Seminar on Indian startup law Full seminar video
Article on Extraditing Indians out of UK Full article

Press

Zee New interview on extraditing Indians from the UK to India (March 2017)  Full interview video
The Lawyer Monthly (October 2016) Full interview
LiveLaw.in (July 2016)  Full interview
Conservative Friends of India (March 2015) Full interview
Article by invitation for the alumni section of Government Law College’s annual magazine MeLAWnge (April 2014) Full article
LegallyIndia (October 2013) Full interview

 

 

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