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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

J William Rowley QC

J William Rowley QC

20 Essex Street Chambers20 Essex StreetLondonEnglandWC2R 3AL
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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Arbitration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

William Rowley QC continues to be “an arbitrator in demand” and is regarded to be “one of the very best” in the international market. Sources particularly point to “his serious intellect and excellent presence in the hearing room” as major strengths.

Biography

Bill Rowley was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970 and subsequently in other jurisdictions. Appointed Queen's Counsel in 1983, he was elected chairman of McMillan LLP in 1996 and chairman emeritus and special counsel on his retirement from the partnership in 2009. He relinquished the latter roles in 2014. Founded in 1903, McMillan is one of Canada's leading law firms. He joined 20 Essex Street Chambers in 2002. 20 Essex Street is one of England's pre-eminent and longest-established sets of chambers practising in the international arbitration field in both commercial and public international law.

Born in Lindfield, Sussex, in 1943, and educated at Trinity College School; Carleton University (1961-1965); he received his LLB (magna cum laude and gold medalist) from the University of Ottawa (1965-1968), where he was editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Law Review. Prior to joining McMillan he served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court of Canada (the Hon Mr Justice Roland A Ritchie) and special assistant to the director (now commissioner) of the Canadian Competition Bureau.

His practice at the Bar has involved all aspects of international commercial law, including competition, contracts, banking, oil industry, insurance, corporate governance and arbitration law and practice. He is recommended in all European and North American expert guides, and is a noted author and frequent speaker in the field.

Mr Rowley is chairman of the editorial board of Global Arbitration Review (GAR), general editor of The GAR Guide to Energy Arbitrations, GAR’s Guide to Challenges and Enforcement of Arbitration Awards and founding editor of Arbitration World (The European Lawyer Reference Series, 2004-2012). He is recommended by Legal Business Arbitration Report, GAR, The New Peacekeepers, Chambers UK, WWL and Chambers & Partners.

National Leader

UK Bar - Arbitration - Silks

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

William Rowley QC is "a top arbitrator" with a stellar reputation for his expertise on contentious matters arising from the energy sector and investment disputes.

Biography

Bill Rowley was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970 and subsequently in other jurisdictions. Appointed Queen's Counsel in 1983, he was elected chairman of McMillan in 1996, and chairman emeritus and special counsel on his retirement from the partnership in 2009. He relinquished the latter roles in 2014. In 2002 he joined 20 Essex Street Chambers, one of England's pre-eminent and longest-established sets of chambers practising in the international arbitration field in both commercial and public international law.

He studied at Trinity College School; Carleton University (1961-1965); and the University of Ottawa (1965-1968; LLB magna cum laude and gold medalist), where he was editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Law Review. Before joining McMillan he served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court of Canada (the Hon Mr Justice Roland A Ritchie) and special assistant to the director (now commissioner) of the Canadian Competition Bureau.

His practice at the Bar has involved all aspects of international commercial law, including competition, contracts, banking, oil, insurance, corporate governance, and arbitration law and practice. He is co-author (with Donald I Baker) of Rowley & Baker: International Mergers – the Antitrust Process (third edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2007). He is past chair of the IBA’s section on business law; its antitrust and trade committee; and its global forum on competition policy. He served as a non-executive member of the board of directors of the Aviva Group Canada (1996-2014), and is a past member of the board of governors of the International Capital Markets Group and an honorary life member and council member of the IBA.

Mr Rowley is chairman of the editorial board of Global Arbitration Review (GAR); general editor of the GAR Guide to Energy Arbitrations (first, second and third editions); general editor of the GAR Guide to Challenging and Enforcing Arbitration Awards (forthcoming spring 2019) and was the founding editor of The European Lawyer Reference Series’ Arbitration World (2004–2012). He is highly recommended as an outstanding practitioner in Chambers UKChambers UK BarChambers ArbitrationChambers GlobalGAR, The Legal 500 and WWL.

Chambers UK describes him as “exceptional”, “Olympian” and “a big character on the scene”, adding: “No one ever leaves the chambers with a sense of injustice.” Chambers UK Bar says he is “well respected, with a reputation for style”, while Chambers Global, which lists him as a Most In Demand Arbitrator in its arbitration (international) chapter, describes him as an “extremely strong” and “superb” arbitrator and a “sensible chairman”, who is “very efficient and extremely charming”.

WWL places him in its Most Highly Regarded list, and says that he “boasts ‘a giant reputation’ in the international arbitration space as ‘a top arbitrator’” and “possesses vast experience handling both commercial and public international law disputes”. The guide also says that he is “regarded as one of the leading arbitrators in the world for international disputes”, and is “widely acknowledged to be ‘as good as it gets’, particularly for energy disputes”.

He is elsewhere described as a “star performer” (Legal Business Arbitration Report), “one of London's ‘super arbitrators’” (GAR), “one of the elite international arbitrators” (The New Peacekeepers), “a ‘Star’ in the arbitration field” (GAR Arbitration) and “a top-tier arbitrator” (The Legal 500).

He has chaired or participated as a tribunal member or counsel in over 200 international and national arbitrations. These have involved a variety of national laws and investment treaty systems including those of ICSID, NAFTA, England, many European states, Abu Dhabi, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bermuda, China, Dubai, Georgia, Grenada, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Venezuela and Canada, as well as New York, Delaware and California. In addition to multiple ICC and LCIA arbitrations, he has conducted cases under other rules such as those of UNCITRAL, the AAA, SCC, SIAC, HKIAC and several domestic regimes.

Recent arbitrations have included petroleum industry joint ventures (Iraq oil fields, over US$20 billion; offshore Nigerian oil fields, over US$4 billion; Kuwait oil fields, over US$7 billion); gas pricing and repricing formulae (Belgium, Canada, Italy, Qatar and US); the $18 billion memory chip joint venture dispute (Japan, US); Bermuda Form insurance claims (Bermuda, New York and London); international trademark licensing (Germany, Japan, US and UK); various investor and state disputes (ICSID, NAFTA and UNCITRAL); international telecoms licensing (EU, US, India and Bermuda); telecoms joint ventures (Australia, Mauritius, India, UK and US); oil supply contracts (Poland and Russia, Netherlands and Russia, and Venezuela and US, Hungary and Ukraine); and production-sharing contracts and AMIs for petroleum products (Africa, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and India).

He served as chairman of the LCIA board of director (2013-2017), and member of the LCIA Court for two terms. He continues to serve on the board of directors of LCIA India.

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