Sriram Panchu has been in the forefront of the mediation movement in India, and is an internationally recognized mediator.
He is an alumnus of the Government Law College, Bombay. He commenced practice in 1976 at the Madras High Court and was designated a Senior Advocate in 1996. His field of law practice is constitutional and commercial law, and he has appeared pro bono in several significant public interest.
For almost thirty years he has been in the forefront of the mediation movement in India, and has been instrumental in bringing mediation into India’s dispute resolution system. In 2005 he set up India’s first court – annexed mediation centre at the Madras High Court, and has gone on to assist the Supreme Court and other High Courts to do so. He has trained over a thousand mediators. His books on mediation are Settle for More ( 2007) and Mediation Practice & Law (2011 and 2015) and the Commercial Mediation Monograph ( 2019 ).
He has mediated a large number of complex and high-value commercial disputes in India and abroad. He has also been appointed by the Supreme Court of India to mediate significant public disputes; this includes a 60 year old border dispute between the States of Assam and Nagaland involving 500 sq kms of land, and a dispute within the Parsi community in Bombay over a ban on priests.
Mr. Panchu is a member of the National Legal Services Authority of India, (NALSA ) and President of the national association Mediators India. He is a Director of the International Mediation Institute ( IMI ) and is on the panel of senior mediators of national and international institutions.
He heads The Mediation Chambers which offers a range of mediation services. He serves on the committees of several public charitable and social organisations.
In December 2018 the Bar Association of India conferred on him its Lawyers of India Day Award of Honour and Distinction.
In March 2019, he was appointed on a three-member panel to mediate the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
Mr Panchu lives in Chennai and travels extensively on work.
Breach of Contract
Joint venture breaches
Mergers & Acquisition issues
shareholding & employment disputes
Winding up & liquidation
Division of companies/assets
Professional malpractice disputes
Investor State disputes
Mediation is a process in which the mediator, an independent expert neutral to the dispute, works with the parties to enable them to come to a mutually acceptable result. It is the most efficient way to end disputes.It has huge savings in cost and time when compared to litigation and arbitration.It is virtually risk free because the decision-making power is retained by the parties, and the process is confidential. Both process and outcome maintain, and often enhance, the relationship between the parties. It focuses on the future and on achieving solutions which are sustainable.
Written agreements reached in mediation are binding on parties, and are enforced by the Courts and the legal process. The law recognizes mediation and in fact encourages its use in dispute resolution. In India the principal enactments dealing with mediation are Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1996 and the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. While mediation is essentially an out of Court settlement, it can also be used for disputes in litigation. It works well in family business disputes.
Mediation can be used in virtually the entire range of commercial, contractual, business, corporate, employment and intellectual property disputes. It works well in family business disputes. It is also useful in transnational disputes, overcoming issues of jurisdiction and enforcement.
Mr Panchu combines the facilitative and evaluative styles of mediation. He works with parties to identify key facts and issues, aids communication between them and helps them to exchange proposals for settlement. In confidential sessions, he focuses on their key interests, examines their legal strengths and weaknesses and their alternatives to settlement. He engages intensively with the parties and the lawyers in developing and refining viable options to end the dispute.
He believes in intensive preparation for mediation. This includes circulation of notes on facts and submission of relevant documents.Key issues are identified, and where necessary further documents and expert opinion can be submitted. All this ensures that the parties are in a state of readiness and can ‘hit the ground running” at the first mediation session. Thus substantial progress can be made in the first session.
Mr Panchu combines, where feasible and advantageous, arbitration and mediation by developing certain innovative strategies. These enable parties to avail of the benefits of both methods, sequentially and in combination. They afford multiple benefits - opportunity to engage in settlement talks, ensuring confidentiality of disclosures and proposals, and finality of resolution. For example, when he acts as an arbitrator, prior to declaring the finalized award he engages the parties in mediation, thus giving them a final opportunity for settlement. Other strategies include separating components of the dispute for arbitration and mediation.
He also provides the much needed advice for evaluating the dispute, choosing the appropriate dispute resolution method and helping the parties to structure the process in an efficient, time-bound and cost-effective way. He brings to the arena of legal disputes the equivalent of diagnosis and prescription in the medical world.
- the how, why and when of Mediation, East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd.
Second Edition 2015
The Path to Succesful Dispute Resolution, LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa (2011).
- a collection of tributes to my Senior S. Govind Swaminadhan
- You fall into a dispute, try to talk it over.
Bachelors in Law from the Government Law College, Bombay. Called to the Bar at the Madras High Court
Founder Trustee of the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group
Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar (Session 291) – Harmonising environment and development through mediation.
Taught public interest law at New York University’s School of Law and researched mediation. Founded the Indian Centre for Mediation and Dispute Resolution
First honorary Organising Secretary of the Madras High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre, the first in India
Published Settle for More – The Why, How and When of Mediation
Appointed as a mediator by the Supreme Court of India to resolve a long-standing boundary dispute between the States of Assam and Nagaland
Formulated the course curriculum on “Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice” for the Institute of Human Settlements, India, in association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Appointed as a mediator by the Supreme Court of India to resolve a dispute pertaining to a ban on certain priests officiating in Parsi temples
Published Mediation: Practice and Law, a comprehensive manual on mediation theory and practice
Invited by the World Bank to participate in a panel discussion on "Strengthening Formal and Informal Mechanisms of Access to Justice" as part of the India Day during the Law, Justice and Development Week
Appointed by the Bombay High Court to mediate a complex business dispute in a prominent family.
Joins Singapore International Mediation Centre as an International Mediator
Second edition of Mediation Practice and Law is released.
A key organizer of the Asia Pacific Mediation Summit of the American Bar Association, held in New Delhi.
Appointed by Madras High Court to mediate disputes within a large University.
Appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Mediation Institute.
Elected President of the national association of Indian mediators
He was nominated as member of National Legal Services Authority of India.
The bar association of India conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award upon him as a Lawyer.
He published his 4th book, "The Commercial Mediation Monograph ".