Interpretation of Contracts – The English view


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SESSION: 4:00 PM TO 6:30 PM (IST)




Interpretation of contract forms the bedrock of disputes arising out of commercial contracts across the globe. Various rules are employed to understand the intention of the parties to facilitate dispute resolution. These rules include reliance on the ordinary meaning of the clause, usages in trade, express or implied nature of the terms, the placement of words (applying ejusdem generis rule) and even punctuation! Various jurisdictions rely on defined rules of interpretation to understand the construction of the written contracts.

Join Jasbir Dhillon QC, Karishma Vora and Nishith Desai Associates in a round table discussion dissecting the laws, recent rulings of the English Courts and a free flowing discussion on their views and experience on contractual interpretation.

Focus Area

The seminar will focus on the legal principles applied by English Courts to contractual interpretation, with reference to recent decisions of the Supreme Court of United Kingdom. It will also seek to assess the rules for interpretation of jurisdiction and arbitration agreements. The principles for interpreting arbitration agreements and jurisdiction clauses form a specific sub-set of rules for interpretation of such agreements or clauses. Such agreements and clauses form distinct agreements within an agreement and invite special attention to determine party intent.

In this session, the speakers will seek to summarize the principles and approach that an English Court will adopt to the interpretation of jurisdiction agreements and arbitration agreements governed by English law. It will also compare and contrast the approach of English law to the approach adopted under Indian law.

Flow of the session

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM :


4:30 PM – 5:00 PM :


5:00 PM – 5:30 PM :


5:30 PM – 5:45 PM :

Q & A

5:45 PM :




Jasbir is an advocate with over 20 years’ experience specialising in complex and high value commercial disputes. Jasbir practices in all areas of Chambers’ work including laws relating to Commercial contracts, International Arbitration, EU/Anti-Trust and Public Law. After graduating with a First Class law degree from Oxford University and an LLM from Harvard Law School, Jasbir began his career as a litigator with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. Since 1997 Jasbir has been a member of Brick Court Chambers and has been involved in many of the leading English commercial cases. Jasbir is also regularly instructed as lead advocate in substantial international arbitrations and also acts as arbitrator. Jasbir is a Bencher of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn. Jasbir is also accredited by Gray's Inn as an Advocacy Trainer. Since 2013, Jasbir has been a director of the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd and is the Chairman of the Investments Committee.

Jasbir is recognised by Chambers & Partners as a leading barrister in Banking and Finance and Commercial Litigation. Jasbir has extensive experience in a wide variety of areas of commercial law, including banking and finance, conflict of laws, fraud, asset tracing, professional negligence, public international law, and international arbitration. Jasbir is a particularly versatile advocate as his practice extends to many other areas of civil law, including company, insolvency, intellectual property, defamation, regulatory, antitrust/ competition, public and administrative, sports and EU.


Karishma is an alumnus of the London School of Economics (LSE) and has taught Commercial Law at the LSE. She is presently a member of 4-5 Grays Inn Square Chambers in London. Karishma has a busy commercial litigation and international arbitration practice, mostly in cases emanating from joint venture agreements. She is well versed with LCIA, ICC, SIAC, UNCITRAL and ad hoc arbitrations in both England and India. Karishma has the rare expertise of being dual qualified in India and England.. She practiced in India for six years with M/s. Wadia Ghandy and the Chambers of Zal Andhyarujina before relocating to London in 2009.


Sahil co-heads the International Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice at Nishith Desai Associates.

He has worked on an array of matters including Indian and international arbitrations as well as advised on corporate and commercial laws, civil and constitutional matters and criminal offences. Sahil has also negotiated private equity and joint venture transactions.

Sahil regularly participates in domestic and international conferences and has also conducted training sessions for in-house legal teams. He has authored several legal articles which have been published in reputed journals.

Sahil holds a Masters degree in Law (Business Laws) from the University of Mumbai. He is a member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa. Sahil has also served as the Secretary of the Western India Users’ Council of LCIA India.


Senior Member, Int’l Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice, Nishith Desai Associates

Kshama is a senior member of the Int’l Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice at Nishith Desai Associates. Kshama completed her LL.M. in International Commercial Laws from King’s College London, and a postgraduate diploma on Negotiation & Dispute Resolution from Harvard Law School. She has taken specialized courses in International Investment Law from World Trade Institute, Switzerland; in advocacy in international arbitration, skills and techniques for cross-examination of witnesses in London; and taught advocacy skills to students in London. She graduated from ILS Law College, Pune in 2009 with distinction in legal practical training.

Kshama focusses on international arbitration, litigation and pre-litigation strategies and has handled complex civil, criminal and commercial disputes. Kshama has authored articles and research papers, and speaks at events on topics involving litigation and arbitration. She has previously worked in London in the field of international commercial and investment arbitration. She began her practice in the chambers of Justice S.V. Gangapurwala, has appeared independently in various High Courts and Tribunals, and has conducted several arbitrations. Kshama also serves as an arbitrator in the global rounds of Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot and in other competitions involving international law.