Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012
Alexis Mourre
Office:
33-43 avenue du Président Wilson
75116
City:
Paris
Country:
France
Tel:
+33 1 49 53 29 47

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Arbitration

Alexis is president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and past chair of the IBA arbitration committee. He has participated as counsel or arbitrator in more than 250 arbitration proceedings under most international arbitration rules and since 1 May 2015 has established his independent arbitrator practice. He is the author of several books and many articles on international arbitration and private international law. He is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Italian and has good knowledge of Portuguese.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

I became a member of the Paris Bar in January of 1988. I was then a litigator in a French boutique law firm, undertaking insurance and civil law disputes. I soon developed a private international law practice, which led me to specialise in international arbitration. I started my own firm  in 1992, which developed in 1996 with the creation of Castaldi Mourre & Partners. I retired from Castaldi Mourre in May 2015 to create my own practice as an arbitrator.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO ENTER THE LEGAL PROFESSION?

I was inspired by the role of the Bar in our res publica. There can be no democracy and no justice without a free and strong legal profession and without advocates cherishing the right of defence as their deepest ideal. I have always been fascinated, in my early years and still today, by the importance of the Bar in our society, with its ideals, its deontology and its ethics.

MUCH OF YOUR WORK FOCUSES ON THE ENERGY SECTOR – TO WHAT EXTENT IS ARBITRATION THE PREFERRED METHOD OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN THIS FIELD?

Arbitration will remain the preferred way of resolving the many types of energy disputes, including those involving oil and gas, electricity, investment claims, gas reopeners and many others. Only arbitration can offer neutrality and the highly specialised tribunals needed to resolve these increasingly complex international cases, while also benefiting from the New York Convention. However, we need to continually revisit our practices in order to reduce the time and costs of arbitration proceedings, which have in many instances become excessive.

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION HAS RECENTLY COME UNDER FIRE FOR THE LACK OF DIVERSITY AMONG ITS PRACTITIONERS. WHAT STEPS DO YOU BELIEVE THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO TAKE TO OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?

Increasing diversity is crucial for the future of arbitration as a global system of justice. Without more generational, regional and gender diversity, arbitration will be paralysed by practices that are disconnected from its fast-changing economic environment. Arbitral institutions must act decisively on that front.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE CURRENTLY FACING ARBITRATION PRACTITIONERS?

One of the main challenges is the increasing time and cost of arbitration. There are multiple causes for this, including the fact that all cases tend to be dealt with in the same manner, with no regard for the specificities of each dispute and the interests at stake. The ICC is acting decisively in this regard, adopting new practices aimed at fostering the efficiency of our proceedings, and by introducing expedited rules for all claims where the amount in dispute is less than US$2 million.

YOU ARE CURRENTLY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ICC INTERNATIONAL COURT OF ARBITRATION – TELL US WHAT THIS ROLE MEANS TO YOU.

It is a great honour and an immense privilege to lead the main international arbitration institution through such challenging times.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS LOOKING TO SPECIALISE IN ARBITRATION?

I am always impressed by the quality of the work produced by many young practitioners. They should be creative, trust themselves and follow their own path without slavishly imitating their elders. 

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Alexis is president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and past chair of the IBA arbitration committee. He has participated as counsel or arbitrator in more than 230 arbitration proceedings under most international arbitration rules and since 1 May 2015 has established his independent arbitrator practice. He is the author of several books and many articles on international arbitration and private international law. He is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Italian and has good knowledge of Portuguese.

What motivated you to focus your practice on the resolution of disputes through international arbitration?

My practice has always been focused on international litigation and private international law. Arbitration was a natural development.

Why did you decide to leave your firm and continue as an independent arbitrator?

I decided to focus my practice on my arbitrator’s work and wanted to avoid possible conflicts of interests.

What has most inspired you as a practitioner?

The first treaty-based investor/state arbitration I chaired was a denial of justice case under the ICC rules. I was impressed by the enormous powers vested upon the tribunal, as we were called to decide upon allegations of bias and corruption at the highest level of the judiciary. While making these decisions I began to understand the amount of humility that is required from international arbitrators in discharging their mandate.

In your opinion, is arbitration still the preferred method of resolving international commercial disputes?

There is no alternative to arbitration in international commerce. As efficient as municipal courts may become, parties to international contracts will always look at a neutral forum and for a flexible procedural framework that can be adapted to the specificities of each case.

What do clients look for when appointing an arbitrator?

Someone who will be on top of the case, understands the issues, who will be respected by his colleagues and whose voice will be heard. And above all someone who must be able to exercise fair and independent judgement.

What are the biggest challenges facing practitioners in international arbitration at present?

Arbitration has recently been under public scrutiny as never before, and the backlash against investor/state arbitration is a cautionary tale for everyone. The causes of that backlash are not limited to investment arbitration and could well spill over to commercial arbitration if we do not implement policies aimed at fostering transparency and encouraging regional and gender diversity. It is incumbent upon the arbitral community to favour the emergence of a new generation of arbitrators. Institutions also need to ensure that arbitrators’ disclosures are forthcoming, based on the fundamental principle according to which the parties have a legitimate right to be informed of any circumstance that may be relevant in their eyes in order to decide whether to object to an arbitrator’s appointment. Finally, there need to be meaningful ethical rules for counsel in arbitration, in order to ensure a level playing field.

The centrality of transparency in modern societal consciousness has led to some criticising the apparent lack of transparency in arbitral proceedings. Are these criticisms having any effect on your practice in any way?

Transparency has become a fundamental tenet of good governance as well as a general expectation of the public in all sectors of public life and economy. There is no way back and it would be a fundamental mistake to believe that international commercial arbitration will be insulated from this trend. Ensuring more transparency while protecting the legitimate expectations to confidentiality that parties may have in commercial arbitration is therefore one of the important challenges faced by the arbitration community.

Arbitral centres in the east are flourishing. Is this having any impact on the number of arbitrations in the more well established seats of international arbitration in the west?

Competition is healthy and it is only fair that venues having actively promoted arbitration see their efforts coming to fruition. The development of arbitral centres like Singapore and Hong Kong strengthens arbitration globally and is for the benefit of all. I hope to see the emergence of more new international arbitration seats in the years to come.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

After founding the law firm Castaldi Mourre & Partners in 1996, Alexis Mourre established his own arbitration practice in May 2015.

Alexis has served as counsel to a party, president of the tribunal, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator and expert in more than 260 international arbitrations, both ad hoc and before most international arbitral institutions (ICC, ICSID, LCIA, ICDR, SIAC, SCC, DIAC, VIAC, etc.).

He is the author of numerous publications in the fields of international business law, private international law and arbitration law. He is founder and past editor-in-chief of Les Cahiers de l’Arbitrage (The Paris Journal of International Arbitration).

Since 1 July 2015 Alexis Mourre has served as president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration; he served as vice president of the Court from 2009 to 2015. Other former roles include: vice president of the ICC Institute of World Business Law (2011-2015); co-chair of the IBA arbitration committee (2012-2013); LCIA Court member (2012-2015); and council member of the Milan International Chamber of Arbitration (2006-2014). He is a member of several scientific and professional institutions dedicated to arbitration and private international law. He is the founder and former president of the association Paris Place d'Arbitrage (the Home of International Arbitration, Paris).

He is fluent in French, English, Italian and Spanish, and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.

WWL says: Alexis Mourre is “very well regarded as an arbitrator and extremely knowledgeable”, making him a top choice for both national and international arbitration proceedings.

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

Other Practice Areas:

Follow us on LinkedIn

Practice Areas

Firms

Browse Firms

Search Firms

The Who's Who Legal 100

Awards

News & Features

Special Reports

Events

Shop

About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

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.

Copyright © 2017 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. | http://www.lbresearch.com

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910

http://www.whoswholegal.com | editorial@whoswholegal.com

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK