Sarosh Zaiwalla, Founder and Senior Partner of the internationally renowned law firm, Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors, was presented the 'Lifetime Achievement' award for his outstanding contributions to the legal sector at this year's prestigious Indian National Bar Association (INBA) award ceremony in New Delhi recently.
Organised by the Indian National Bar Association (INBA) the largest voluntary Bar Association in New Delhi, India, the award ceremony was held to recognise and celebrate the significant role that lawyers play in Indian society.
Inspired by his father's success as the first Asian to qualify as a lawyer in the UK, Zaiwalla immigrated to the U.K. during the mid-1970s to pursue a career in law.
Zaiwalla then joined a maritime law company and caught the attention of the renowned maritime arbitrator Cedric Barclay.
Barclay soon became his mentor and encouraged Sarosh to set up a law firm of his own, known as Zaiwalla &Co which he founded in 1982.
In doing so, Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors became the first English solicitors firm started in the one square mile district of the City of London by a Solicitor born outside Europe.
Zaiwalla is the firm's senior partner, overseeing all the firm's activities.
He began his career in shipping law and arbitration, and then branched out into non-shipping arbitration.
A former member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, Paris, (1990 - 2002), Zaiwalla is also a CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) accredited mediator.
The firm has been at the forefront of handling major cases in India which include acting for the President of India in over 300 Indian shipping maritime arbitration cases in London at a time when the nation was facing an economic crisis and had limited foreign exchange.
India tended to lose most of its cases in London till Zaiwalla turned this around and achieved savings of £50 million.
Interestingly, he employed and dismissed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a case for the President of India.
The only time Tony Blair's name appears in the law report is instructed by Zaiwalla & Co.
Zaiwalla & Co also worked closely with the Gandhi family on numerous occasions.
For example, Rajiv Gandhi hired Zaiwalla to defend the Organising Committee of the Ninth Asian Games in Delhi in legal proceedings brought in the English Court by METCO, a company from Dubai.
He was successful and Gandhi would refer Zaiwalla to all of his friends who required his legal services in London.
Other major cases the firm has represented for India clients include the Shah vs HSBC case which changed the law on the way banks can report suspicions of money laundering; Haswani vs Jivraj case which changed the law on discrimination of arbitrators; defended arbitration involving £170M claim against Tamil Nadu Electricity Board brought by a power generating company with an American stake holding; and represented Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan in a libel case.
Also internationally, Zaiwalla has been a prolific international legal expert having handled cases for clients, including the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), The Dalai Lama, the office of the Ruler of Dubai, as well as the Russian Federation.
He was also involved in managing the cases of high profile clients before the UK Supreme Court and EU Courts surrounding the Iran nuclear programme sanctions imposed by the EU and U.K.
Zaiwalla heads the team handling the case for Iran's largest private bank, Bank Mellat.
The firm is representing the bank in its $4 billion USD damages claim, and has successfully had sanctions imposed on the bank by the U.K. Government overturned.
Speaking about the accolade, Zaiwalla said, "I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the 'Lifetime Achievement' award. I am proud of this achievement and grateful to be sharing this success with the firm Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors. I owe this recognition to my team, for their support and commitment to develop and take the firm further. We have great plans for the firm and I am confident that we can achieve these goals with the sort of talents and expertise that make us a success."
In a high-profile career expanding nearly 35 years, some of Zaiwalla's other prestigious accolades have included:
• Mr Zaiwalla being named as one of GQ UK's 100 Most Connected Men in 2016.
• He was appointed to the Council of the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy - a leading policy analysis centre in the US.
• He was made a Freeman of The City of London by the Lord Mayor of London in 1998.
• He was given India's Annual National Law Day Award by the Indian Prime Minister for his outstanding contribution to the field of International Arbitration Law in October 2002.
• He was appointed an Arbitrator to the Panel of Arbitrators by the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board in June 2008.
He was appointed as Representative of the Union of Comoros to the International Maritime Organisation in 2011.
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