60 Robinson Road, BEA building #14-01
068892, Singapore, Singapore
Peers and clients say:
"Amit has an excellent grasp of the details"
"He knows the case history like the back of his hand"
"He is precise and extremely clear on the stand"
Mr. Garg is the managing director of Secretariat’s APAC operations, and for the last decade he has been involved in providing dispute advisory services from Singapore and Hong Kong. He was previously based in the USA, where he worked in the construction industry, performed research and provided consulting advice. He has extensive experience in performing delay analysis on complex international projects across the world and has served as an expert in arbitrations under the ICC, AAA, ICSID, HKIAC, SIAC, DIAC and ADCCAC.
Why did you choose to specialise in providing advisory services on construction disputes?
Each dispute involves different project conditions and poses a new challenge. As such, in addition to being able to use my education and experience, it is always invigorating to be able to decipher the underlying reasons that caused a project to be in trouble.
Which types of projects are resulting in the most disputes at the moment? Why do you think this is?
Large projects, particularly those involving transportation and power infrastructure, O&G / mineral production and processing, have a greater tendency to generate disputes. This is because these projects have unique design, are complex to construct, and usually involve numerous parties that have not worked together previously. On occasion, these projects may be located in parts of the world where the parties executing them may not have significant experience. Parties frequently underestimate the risks arising from the above-mentioned factors, and this results in conflicts during project execution.
To what extent are you seeing an increasing amount of construction services provided by Asia-based contractors, rather than their European and American counterparts?
There has been a significant shift in the amount of work being done globally by contractors from Asia. Asian contractors now consist of more than half of the top 100 contractors (ranked by revenue outside their country of origin), in comparison to over fifteen years ago when they formed only one-third of that list. In particular contractors from China, South Korea and Turkey have increased their footprint in the global marketplace. This has been a growing source of work for consulting firms operating in the disputes advisory services.
What have been the main challenges facing construction expert witnesses over the past years?
On complex matters, parties engaging experts may not have a clear understanding of the merits of their case and in turn their potential exposure. This becomes a challenge as it results in parties having a pre-conceived notion of their entitlement. As such, it is important for good experts to provide an objective view early on in their engagement.
As managing director of the firm’s regional operations, how do you see your practice developing over the next few years?
Although the vast majority of our past work has been global in nature with arbitrations seated outside Asia, we are now seeing an increasing amount of dispute work from within the region with arbitrations seated locally in Singapore or Hong Kong. As such, our practice is now starting to do more work for Asian clients, both employers and contractors, irrespective of the physical location of their projects.
What benefits does hot-tubbing offer to arbitration proceedings where you have to give expert testimony?
Hot-tubbing has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Hot-tubbing allows the tribunal to get views from the two experts simultaneously on issues that allow them to identify the key disagreements and reasons thereof. I personally look forward to the process as I find it to be timely and useful, since it usually takes place at the end of the cross-examination process and allows me to express conclusive opinions in light of the other expert’s final views.
What makes Secretariat stand out from its competitors in the market?
Secretariat experts operate with a singled-minded obligation to provide the clients with a work-product that sets a benchmark in the industry in terms of its quality. Our work-product has become our biggest marketing tool. Further, in the expert consulting industry, clients value an objective assessment that helps them in gaining a clear understanding of their potential exposure and entitlement. The ability to provide such work-product and advice is entirely dependent on the quality of our people. We therefore strive to develop personnel that possess a combination of intellectual ability, relevant experience and integrity.