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Thought Leaders

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Pierre Tercier

Pierre Tercier

Pierre Tercier5 ch Guillaume-RitterFribourgSwitzerlandCH-1700
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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

Pierre Tercier is an emeritus professor of the University of Fribourg; the honorary chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration; and a prominent international arbitrator with extensive international arbitration and dispute resolution experience. He is highly respected in the international legal and business communities as an arbitrator, lecturer and author. He is a visiting professor of law at numerous universities around the world, including those in Geneva, Paris, Turin and Washington, DC.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN ARBITRATION?

I already had a career as a professor at the University of Fribourg, but I was fortunate to be appointed quickly as an arbitrator in some cases. The number of matters I worked on increased over time; I was able to devote myself fully to this activity as an independent arbitrator when my role as chairman of the ICC Court of Arbitration ended. Arbitration is the perfect complement to my work as a professor; and, I might add, an academic career can also be a good basis for arbitration work.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN HOW ARBITRATION IS CONDUCTED, AND ITS EFFICACY, SINCE YOU BEGAN YOUR PRACTICE?

Compared with when I began, the field has radically changed to become more and more professional. The cases are more complex, and the procedures more standard.

WHAT DO YOU PREFER: SITTING AS SOLE ARBITRATOR, OR AS PART OF A PANEL?

I have always preferred to be part of a panel. You feel better with co-arbitrators with whom you can exchange views and experiences.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ARBITRATION PRACTITIONERS?

Have a very good background in law; a good grounding in arbitration; a good command of languages; and an open mind to other cultures and to the practice. For the rest, “pray to God” (Jan Paulsson).

SOME SAY THAT BOTH THE MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA ARE NOW COMPETING WITH EUROPE AND THE US AS PREFERRED SEATS OF ARBITRATION. TO WHAT EXTENT IS THIS TRUE?

The US and Europe remain very important, but it is obvious that the picture is changing – especially with the entry of Asia, but also the Arabic world, Africa and Latin America.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING ARBITRAL DISPUTE YOU HAVE WORKED ON DURING YOUR CAREER?

The most exciting, interesting and difficult case was for me was the Abaclat case (ICSID); but each case is interesting.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE THAT ARBITRATION NEEDS TO ADDRESS IF IT WISHES TO CONTINUE TO GROW AND IMPROVE ITS EFFICIENCY AS A FORM OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION?

It is evident that arbitration will grow and continue to substitute national courts. It is essential that the system allows everybody to have an access to justice and that the procedure is conducted in an efficient and cost-saving manner, and that the arbitrators remain perfectly neutral.

YOU ARE ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST DISTINGUISHED ARBITRATORS – WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE? WHERE ARE NOW YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES REGARDING YOUR CAREER?

At my age the best I can hope for is to continue working for some years in the future – for as long as I have the pleasure and interest to do it, and for as long as I have the trust of the parties.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Arbitration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Pierre Tercier is well known as “a leading arbitrator and great mentor”. He has extensive experience as arbitrator and is highly regarded for his work in large-scale international disputes.

Biography

Professor Pierre Tercier is an emeritus professor of the University of Fribourg, the honorary chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, and a prominent international arbitrator with extensive experience in international arbitration, having served mainly as president in more than 100 international arbitrations under various rules (ie, ICC, ICSID, LCIA, SIAC, CRCICA, SCC, UNCITRAL, etc) covering various sectors. 

For over a generation, Professor Tercier has also been one of the most respected legal scholars in the country. He has authored more than 250 legal writings, focusing on contract law and international arbitration. He was professor of law and the dean of the University of Fribourg. He also taught at the University of Geneva and the EPFL in Lausanne, in Paris I, Paris II, Paris IV, Cambridge University, Columbia Law School and at the Max-Planck Institute for private international law. Currently, Professor Tercier teaches selected topics in international arbitration at the University of Geneva/Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Torino University and Georgetown University Law Center, among other institutions. 

Professor Tercier is a member of the governing board of ICCA, a former president of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC and a former chairman of the Swiss Commission on Competition, the Swiss Cartel Commission and the Swiss Insurance Law Society. 

He completed his postgraduate studies in Hamburg (Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Germany) and at the University of Cambridge, and received a doctorate in law and legal practice degree from the University of Fribourg.

National Leader

Switzerland - Arbitration

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Independent arbitrator Pierre Tercier is “an established figure in the market and one of the best arbitrators Switzerland has to offer”, according to impressed interviewees. He has significant experience in large international disputes across a wide range of sectors.

Biography

Professor Pierre Tercier is an emeritus professor of the University of Fribourg, the honorary chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, and a prominent international arbitrator with extensive experience in international arbitration, having served mainly as president in more than 100 international arbitrations under various rules (eg, ICC, ICSID, LCIA, SIAC, CRCICA, SCC, UNCITRAL) covering various sectors.

For over a generation, Professor Tercier has also been one of the most respected legal scholars in the country. He has authored more than 250 legal writings, focusing on contract law and international arbitration. He was professor of law and the dean of the University of Fribourg. He also taught at the University of Geneva, the EPFL in Lausanne, Paris I, Paris II, Paris IV, Cambridge University, Columbia Law School and the Max-Planck Institute for Private International Law. Currently, he teaches selected topics in international arbitration at the University of Geneva/Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Torino University and Georgetown University Law Center, among other institutions.

Professor Tercier is a member of the governing board of ICCA, a former President of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC and a former Chairman of the Swiss Commission on Competition, the Swiss Cartel Commission and the Swiss Insurance Law Society.

He completed his postgraduate studies in Hamburg (Max-Planck Institute for Private International Law, Germany) and at the University of Cambridge, and received a doctor in law and law practice degree from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, summa cum laude. He passed the bar exam at the University of Fribourg in 1969.

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