Passage to India: Lessons for Foreign Investors

    October 2016
    1. How Is the Indian Legal System Different From Other Jurisdictions?

    India is a common law country and derives most of its modern legal and judicial framework from the British system. India has a written constitution that follows the Westminster system, with some federal features.

    There is a uniform system of justice dispensation, with the Supreme Court at the center and High Courts in the states, as well as numerous other subordinate and specialized courts. In the strict sense, the Indian judicial system does not operate on wholly federal lines, as may be seen in the US. It does not have a dual system of courts and the judiciary is one integrated whole. There are no federal courts to decide federal questions exclusively.

    As for dispute resolution, while the judiciary is professional and independent, delays are endemic – timelines of 10 years or more in obtaining a final judgment are not uncommon. Further, compared to jurisdictions such as England, Indian courts have much less experience in adjudicating complex commercial disputes.