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Bernard Hanotiau
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Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Arbitration 2017

Bernard Hanotiau is a member of the Brussels and Paris Bars and a partner of Hanotiau & van den Berg. The firm has offices in Brussels and Singapore. Since 1978, Bernard Hanotiau has been actively involved in more than 400 international arbitration cases. In March 2011, he received GAR’s Arbitrator of the Year award; and in April 2016, he won the Who’s Who Legal award for Lawyer of the Year: Arbitration.

What is the secret of your practice’s success?

It is a combination of many factors: hard work every day of the week, month after month, year after year (with passion); rigour; expertise and experience; creativity; responsiveness; good common sense; scientific research; publications and presentations; and attendance at leading arbitration events (for information purposes and professional contacts).

Where in your opinion does the future of the practice area lie?

Arbitration has penetrated all sectors of the economic activity. The sectors which attract most arbitrations vary from year to year. Presently, disputes in the energy sector and investment disputes seem to take the lead but there remain a lot of disputes in the other sectors, such as construction, joint ventures, shareholders agreements, IT.

In certain states, the credibility of international arbitration is being questioned. What can be done to improve perceptions of the practice?

The development of investment disputes and the fact that states can be condemned to substantial amounts by private arbitrators has attracted a lot of criticism. However, this is a system that states themselves have created and provided for in their bilateral investment treaties for the resolution of disputes between investors and states. But for a layman, it may be difficult to understand. A lot of criticisms also arise from the fact that institutions have become too bureaucratic and counsel too expensive.

How has the growing sophistication of regional centres of arbitration impacted your practice?

When I started my practice, most arbitrations were under the rules of the ICC. Nowadays, we receive appointments from arbitration centres all over the world. Arbitration has become truly universal.

International arbitration is an attractive practice area amongst lawyers and law students at the moment. What is the source of that appeal?

In many legal sectors – M&A is probably one of the best examples – the degree of activity is periodic, one year very intense and the following year very quiet. In arbitration, the activity is intense all the time, not only when the economy is strong but also in periods of crisis. And you are not limited to one jurisdiction. The territory of your activity is the whole world. Moreover, the work is varied and you practice comparative law on a permanent basis.

Third-party funding is a divisive issue in the field currently. What effects might this phenomenon have on the practice at large?

Except for some legal and procedural issues relating to the communication and the scope of the third-party funding agreements, I do not think that it will have any effect on the practice at large. It might only generate more cases.


Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Bernard Hanotiau is a member of the Brussels and Paris bars. In 2001, he established a boutique law firm in Brussels concentrating on international arbitration and litigation. The firm has offices in Brussels and Singapore.

Since 1978, Bernard Hanotiau has been actively involved in international commercial arbitration as party-appointed arbitrator, chairman, sole arbitrator, counsel and expert in various parts of the world. Mr Hanotiau is a member of the panel of arbitrators of, or receives appointments as arbitrator by, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC, Paris), the LCIA, ICSID, the AAA, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, SIAC, HKIAC, CIETAC, the BAC, the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, the KLRCA, the KCAB, the PCA in The Hague, WIPO, Cepani, the NAI, the Swiss Chambers of Commerce, DIAC, the Danish Institute of Arbitration, the Cairo Centre of Arbitration, the French Arbitration Association, the French-German Chamber of Commerce, IATA and the CAS. He is also frequently appointed as arbitrator in UNCITRAL and other ad hoc arbitration cases.

He is a member of the ICCA governing board and of the council of the ICC Institute and a member of the ICC International Arbitration Commission. He is also a former vice president of the Institute of Transnational Arbitration (Dallas), Cepani and the LCIA Court. He is a member of the board of DIAC; the Istanbul International Arbitration Centre; the SIAC Court of Arbitration; the HKIAC international advisory board; and the International Arbitration Club.

In March 2011, Mr Hanotiau received the GAR Arbitrator of the Year Award; in April 2016, he won the Who’s Who Legal Lawyer of the Year: Arbitration Award.

WWL says: Bernard Hanotiau is "an absolute star, clearly one of the very best and most in-demand arbitrators in the world".

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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W11 1QQ, UK