Karishma Vora | 4-5 Gray's inn square

Practice Summary

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.

Karishma has a busy commercial litigation and international arbitration practice. Her experience ranges from interim applications (such as summary actions, anti suit injunctions and default judgments) to complex cross-border trials where one or more legs of the proceedings is abroad such as before the National Company Law Tribunal in India, the US Federal Courts or Cyprus winding up courts.

She specialises in business and banking disputes such as shareholder disputes, directors duties, loan defaults, guarantees, swaps and breaches of general commercial contracts.

She has been instructed before the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, County Courts and Tribunals. Her international practice includes being instructed in matters before the Bombay High Court and arbitrations seated in India or Singapore.

Karishma has developed significant expertise in international arbitration. 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 is an alumna of the London School of Economics (LSE) and has taught commercial law at the LSE Summer School. She has lectured on international arbitration and recently represented the Bar Council of England & Wales at an arbitration lecture series in Brazil. 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:

  • vet joint venture agreements for their dispute resolution clauses

  • draft and appear in interim applications concerning jurisdiction, emergency relief, security for costs, anti-suit or anti-arbitration injunctions

  • conduct cross examination and appear at trials and

  • argue challenges from arbitration awards.

• Uttam Galva Steels Ltd v Gunvor Singapore Pte Ltd [2018] EWHC 1098 (Comm). Karishma has been standing counsel for Uttam Galva Steels Limited, a publicly listed Indian steel company for all their commercial litigation and international arbitration matters seated in London. She defended the UG Group in an approximately $35 million arbitration in a London Metal Exchange arbitration concerning whether an interim ruling in an arbitration can be akin to a summary judgment and whether bills of exchange can be arbitrated. The English High Court challenge from the interim arbitration award is a reported judgment. One leg of the proceedings included a summary action before the Bombay High Court. (Led)
• Advising Indian promoters on a Geneva seated LCIA arbitration governed by English law. The matter arises out of a US $225 million private equity agreement and concerns anti-suit injunctions, non-compete clauses and the interpretation of contracts (sole)
• Representing a top Indian steel company in (a) a SIAC arbitration against a Chinese company for payments that are the subject of fraud and (b) an ad hoc domestic Indian arbitration seated in Mumbai against its warehouse contractor worth INR 9 crores (sole)
• Successfully defended an Australian cement manufacturer in a London seated LCIA arbitration against the contractor for its captive 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)
• Defended a Singaporean company in a London seated LCIA arbitration in a breach of an Acquisition Agreement worth $79 million to buy a Russian coal mine (led)
• Defended an Indian power company in a London seated ICC arbitration in a matter concerning the non completion of a Sudanese power project (led)
• 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)
• Advised on the merits of obtaining interim relief in a shipping arbitration (led)
• Advised an Indian pharmaceutical company in a mediation concerning repudiatory breach of contract and a claim for damages worth Euros 400,000 (sole)
• Instructed to represent a listed Indian company before the Refined Sugar Association in an arbitration concerning the repudiation of a contract due to falling prices of sugar (sole).

Commercial Litigation

• Acting in a number of land acquisition matters against Crossrail including Pritchett v Crossrail [2017] EWCA Civ 317 and Charlesworth v Crossrail [2018] EWHC 915 (Admin) (led)
• ICICI Bank UK v Mihir Mehta & Ors [2017] EWHC 1030 (Comm) Attempt to lift a multi-million dollar worldwide freezing injunction following loan defaults and invocation of personal guarantees. Involved complex jurisdiction issues (sole)
• Barclays Bank Plc v Svizera Holdings BV [2014] EWHC 1020 (Comm). Acted for the Indian corporate guarantor in a numbers of matters including a $35 million High Court trial involving the breach of a facility agreement, a currency swap and the discharge of a worldwide freezing injunction (led)
• Rakesh Malhotra v Rajinder Kumar Malhotra [2012] EWHC 3020 (Comm). This is the leading Anglo-Indian case on anti-suit injunctions. Successfully lifted a $225 million anti-suit injunction in England enabling the continuation of Indian proceedings. (Led, though presently advising in sole capacity in further matters arising)
• Instructed in an appeal to the Privy Council from the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal in a dispute between shareholders of an asset management company. Concerned principles of winding up (sole)
• Successfully settled a matter concerning employee stock options of an NYSE-listed media company, following a win at the interim stage. Hanafin v Eros International. (Led)
• Advising a joint venture partner on the forfeiture of its partner's shares following a breach of contract governed by English law (sole)
• Instructed by Standard Chartered bank, Delhi to draft a claim to be filed before the Delhi High Court against loan defaultors in an English law governed facility agreement and Indian law governed guarantees (sole)
• Advised directors of an English company facing a winding up petition (sole)
• Instructed by an English family court as an expert witness on Indian law in a dispute concerning the transfer of ancestral property in Gujarat (sole)
• Represented a middle eastern client in an application to set aside default judgment before the Queens Bench Division (led)
• 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)
• Instructed by the English franchisee of a popular Indian restaurant chain to defend an allegation of breach of a franchise agreement (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)
• Acted in a summary action before the Commercial Court to enforce a performance guarantee on behalf of an African power company (led)
• Assisted 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)
• Defending an English company against a London based bank in a loan default worth USD 63 million. Issues include misrepresentation, conspiracy to injure and economic duress. (sole)
• Currently representing a director of an American company in the wind energy sector whose personal guarantee was invoked despite non-renewal. The matter also concerns fraudulent misrepresentation and a strike out application is to be heard in late October 2018 (sole)
• Advised an English financial institution on whether a corporate guarantee can be invoked on more than one occasion for a default worth USD 95 million in relation to a loan for the construction of a power plant (sole)
• Recently advised a serial entrepreneur in the media and conferences sector on a shareholders agreement and its implications in relation to restrictive covenants, transfer of shares and exit etc. (sole)
• Successfully settled a matter against a British defence manufacturer following failure in performance tests (sole)
• Vetted a Supply Agreement for an NYSE listed company that outsourced the manufacturing of medical devices (sole)


• 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. She is entrusted to draft wills for clients in relation to their Indian assets.

• Advised a Middle Eastern client on the merits of challenging a domestic Indian arbitration award at the Delhi High Court under section 34 of the Indian Arbitration Act 2015. Issues concerned a defence contract with inter-dependent clauses and the prevention principle.

• Drafted a section 138 petition for a Middle Eastern investor in relation to a private loan extended by him to a Delhi-based Defence company. Issues concerned limitation and cheque bouncing.
• Recently advised an English company in the power sector wishing to wind up its Indian operations on the effect of a breach of contract and types of damages under Indian law

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

• 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

• 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
• Drafted a Convertible Loan Agreement governed by English law on behalf of three leading Middle Eastern investors in a software company run out of Dubai
• Advised a Middle Eastern client on the merits of challenging a domestic Indian arbitration award at the Delhi High Court under section 34 of the Indian Arbitration Act 2015. Issues concerned a contract with inter-dependent clauses and the prevention principle
• Drafted a section 138 petition for a Middle Eastern investor in relation to a private loan extended by him to a Delhi-based Defence company. Issues concerned limitation and cheque bouncing
• Advised a foreign investor in the UAE on the forfeiture of shares in a Jersey company. The contract was governed by English law
• Instructed as an expert witness on Indian law by a Swiss lender who held a judgment against an individual who had filed for bankruptcy on the basis of larger sums payable by him in India. The matter is slotted for trial at the Commercial Court in February 2019.

• 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

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
Karishma won the ‘Commercial Disputes Lawyer of the Year’ conferred by The Lawyer Monthly Women In Law Awards 2017


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


Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi


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

Seminar on Third Party Funding in international arbitration Full seminar video

Seminar on Freezing Injunctions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcddurdgwOc

Seminar on Jurisdiction clauses in Cross Border Agreements https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OmpKu49HYk

How to exit a contract – Rescission and repudiatory breaches. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PyVoJvlY0k



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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