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

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 250 arbitration proceedings under most international 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 ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION?

The unique mix of public, private and comparative law applied to international relations, as well as the combination of legal and economic analysis that is applied in arbitration. I was also attracted by the transnational nature of the arbitration community and the cross-fertilisation and constant exchanges that exist between practitioners of different legal cultures and backgrounds.

AS AN INDEPENDENT ARBITRATOR, HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR PROFILE WITHIN THE ARBITRATION COMMUNITY?

By trying to give the best possible service in each case in which I have the honour to serve. No award is perfect, but we should aim at listening to the parties, understanding the issues, and exercising independent judgement in order to correctly decide each case. In doing so, an arbitrator should be available and well prepared, display humility, and show openness. He or she should also have the necessary authority and case management skills. It is the combination of all these qualities that allow an arbitrator to maintain its reputation and profile in the community.

OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, HOW HAS THE COMPETITION IN THE MARKET BETWEEN ARBITRATORS DEVELOPED?

The pool of available arbitrators has expanded, and there is much more diversity, which is a healthy phenomenon. There are more women available, young practitioners and arbitrators from emerging jurisdictions. I see much more attention paid by in-house counsel to the selection of arbitrators. These decisions are no longer entirely left to counsel, which is also very positive. Finally, there is a significant effort on the part of users to gather objective information on the profile of prospective arbitrators and their past record, rather than merely relying on the prestige of their name. Overall, it is a more open, transparent and competitive marketplace.

THERE HAVE BEEN CALLS FOR INCREASED TRANSPARENCY IN COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION. WHAT POTENTIAL ISSUES COULD THE CONFLICT BETWEEN CONFIDENTIALITY AND TRANSPARENCY LEAD TO FOR ARBITRATORS?

The rise of transparency in international arbitration will challenge arbitrators in multiple ways. First, there will be more and more information available on arbitrators, including in respect of the various cases in which they may have participated in different capacities. Initiatives such as the publication by the ICC of the composition of its tribunals, or platforms such as Arbitrator Intelligence, will contribute to encourage arbitrators to be more transparent and forthcoming in their conflicts disclosures. Transparency will also pose new challenges to arbitrators in those cases, generally based on treaty, where they have to deal with public hearings and requests to hear amici curiae. Knowing that their award will be public also adds pressure on arbitrators to provide clear and comprehensive reasoning for their decisions. Finally, even in cases where confidentiality applies, there will increasingly be applications and objections relating to the parties’ reporting obligations, be it to the parties’ boards, to regulators or to market authorities.

YOU RECENTLY SPOKE ABOUT THE NEED FOR IMPROVED COOPERATION BETWEEN ARBITRAL INSTITUTIONS. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION COMMUNITY CAN BEST BE ACHIEVED?

I addressed this question in my Hendrix lecture in Atlanta. There are many areas in which inter-institutional cooperation would be beneficial, such as consultations aimed at determining prima facie the competent institution in case of pathological clauses, exchanging information on the performance of arbitrators, building a common platform for the publication of awards, or helping arbitrators to secure professional insurance. This can be achieved through informal bilateral or multilateral contacts. IFCAI would also be an ideal tool for this.

IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

To have had the great honour and immense privilege to lead the ICC International Court of Arbitration in the challenging times that arbitration is living. The Court has modernised its practices so as to ensure more transparency, introduced the highest standards of ethics for arbitrators and counsels and adopted procedures so as to reduce the time and costs of ICC arbitrations. We have also increased our global reach by opening new offices in Shanghai, São Paulo, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, two of which have dedicated case management teams. To have led these important projects, among others, while successfully maintaining my independent arbitrator practice, is a source of great pride and satisfaction.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE PRACTICE OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION TO DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

It will change significantly. Whether the right horizon is five years does not really matter. First, there will be added pressure on the part of users to improve the time and cost efficiency of arbitration proceedings. Some arbitral institutions, such as the ICC, have introduced expedited rules that apply below a certain amount in dispute. We are likely to see increases to such thresholds, and users will also more frequently opt into these expedited arbitrations for cases that would otherwise not qualify. A second trend is likely to be an increased expectation of transparency regarding arbitrators’ conflicts disclosures. I also expect consensus to grow in the arbitration community on the need for ethical rules for counsel, whether on the model of the IBA Guidelines of Party Representation or of institutional rules such the annex to the LCIA Rules. Finally, the increased diversity of the arbitration community will lead to fewer arbitrators and counsel originating from Western Europe and North America, and the rise of a new generation coming from Asia and Africa.

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.

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