Effective July 1, 2015, Alexis Mourre was appointed President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration to succeed John Beechey. Member of the Paris Bar, Mr. Mourre is the founding partner of law firm Castaldi Mourre & Partners, a leading boutique in international arbitration and litigation practices. Apart from his varied experience as arbitrator, counsel and expert in ad hoc arbitrations and cases, he has had longstanding ties with the arbitral institution. He has also served as Vice-President of the ICC Institute of World Business Law.
Leaders League. You were recently appointed President of the ICC Court of Arbitration. What are the Court’s main missions at the moment?
Alexis Mourre. The ICC Court of Arbitration is the main arbitration institution in the world. Queen Mary’s recent study on international arbitration revealed that the ICC is the preferred institution of 68% of the survey’s respondents worldwide. The main mission of the Court is to administer the arbitrations under its Rules in the parties’ best interests. Firstly, we ensure that the arbitrators sitting in our tribunals are neutral and independent, whilst being scrupulous with regards to the thoroughness of conflicts of interest disclosure statements conducted throughout the proceedings. Then we ensure the procedure is conducted in the most efficient way by the arbitral tribunal, both in terms of costs and timing. We operate on three levels. In the first place, we ensure that our arbitrators fill in an availability statement, declaring, at the time of appointment, their periods of unavailability over the next twelve or eighteen months, thereby committing to the time periods they indicate as available. Secondly, we stay in touch with and question our arbitrators over the course of the procedure to find out how the case is progressing, in order to track down potential delays and to remind them of their duty of care. Lastly, we sometimes severely sanction the tribunals that accumulate inexcusable delays when we set about fixing the arbitrators’ fees. We carry out rigorous quality checks on the arbitral awards, a unique feature of the ICC. No arbitral award can be notified to the parties without the Court’s approval. This control allows us not only to correct clerical mistakes or irregularities that may affect the validity of the award, but also to clarify the arbitrators’ reasoning, avoid conflicting motives, or draw the arbitrators’ attention to ultra petita decisions, or those decisions which could be based on reasons that the parties had not had the opportunity to discuss.
Leaders League. In 2014, the ICC set up mediation rules, which seem to have elicited some success. More confidential in the business world, mediation seems to be experiencing some success under the ICC rules...
A.M. Our mediation rules offer a very efficient tool to parties who want to settle their dispute amicably. A very large majority of cases in which the parties have dealt with a mediator result in transactions. The parties resorting to mediation are public or private companies, and even states.
Leaders League. What elements combine to make Paris one of the leading arbitration centers in the world?
A. M. Paris has always been noted for its very favorable jurisprudence for arbitration. This recognition is based on the validity of arbitration agreements, subject only to the consent of parties and international public policy, as well as strong support for the enforcement of the award. Hopefully this keen interest in arbitration will not be called into question, as that would be extremely damaging for the Paris market. Today there is fierce competition between arbitration centers worldwide. Each of them must try to offer the most favorable legal framework for arbitration, in order to preserve or enhance its appeal.
Read more insight regarding the dispute resolution market in our 2015-2016 Report of Litigation and International Arbitration.