30 June 2021
Alexis Mourre, President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, concludes a six-year term leading the world’s preferred arbitral institute on 30 June.
Having been an ICC Court member for 12 years, first as Vice-President and then as President, Mr Mourre has expressed a desire to return fully to private practice. Before wishing him farewell, we’re celebrating just nine ICC Court achievements made under his leadership.
Achieving record caseloads
Alexis Mourre’s term as President has seen several record-breaking years for ICC caseloads and other statistics. ICC Court statistics for 2020 marked the latest record year in terms of new filings in 2020, with 946 new cases, seated in 113 cities and involving 2,507 parties.
Bringing ICC Dispute Resolution closer to users worldwide
Since Mr Mourre began his mandate in 2015, ICC has opened three new case management offices in Sao Paulo, Singapore and most recently in Abu Dhabi bringing the Court and its leading services closer to arbitration users in those regions. Another important step in expanding ICC’s reach during Mr Mourre’s term has been the creation of its Belt and Road Commission and Africa Commission.
Ensuring access to dispute resolution in the face of a global pandemic
Under Alexis Mourre’s leadership, the ICC Court has continued leading dispute resolution in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring continued access to ICC’s world-renown services. In April 2020, ICC released a Guidance Note outlining a range of measures to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on arbitral proceedings providing support to parties, counsel and arbitral tribunals in ICC Arbitrations on the challenges currently faced in ensuring fair, timely and efficient resolution of disputes.
Ensuring ICC Rules of Arbitration remain ahead of the field
Revised ICC Rules of Arbitration entered into force on 1 January 2021, including a number of new provisions making ICC Arbitration even more attractive.
Ahead of the entry into force of the Rules, the ICC Court released an updated version of its Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of Arbitration, last amended in January 2019.
Alexis Mourre described the amendments as a further step towards their greater efficiency, flexibility and transparency, making ICC Arbitration even more attractive, both for large, complex arbitrations and for smaller cases.
Increasing time and cost efficiency of ICC Arbitrations
Efforts to improve time and cost efficiency under Alexis Mourre’s leadership led to the introduction in 2016 of time limits for the submission of draft awards to the ICC Court, with financial sanctions in case of unjustified delays and the adoption of opt-out based expedited rules in 2017.
In an interview following an announcement that he would be stepping down as ICC Court President, Mr Mourre said:
“I am extremely satisfied with our expedited rules, which are proving to work very efficiently, with high-quality awards made within six months from the case management conference. We have also introduced rules on dispositive motions, and significantly improved and expanded the note to parties and arbitral tribunals.”
To date, over 240 cases have been conducted under the Expedited Procedure Rules with the quality of the awards equivalent comparable to awards under ICC’s standard arbitration procedure.
The ICC Court also continues to closely monitor the time for the submission of draft awards by arbitral tribunals to the Court, applying fee reductions whenever delays are not de minimis or justified by the objective circumstances of the case.
Establishing transparency and publishing Court Awards
Since 2015, the ICC Court has developed a consistent and ambitious policy to establish unique standards of transparency for its activities and the conduct of arbitral proceedings.
The Court amended its Rules in 2017 to allow for the provision of reasons for its decisions upon the request of any party. This was followed by a decision to publish the composition of its tribunals, with information on the manner in which each arbitrator has been appointed, the identity of counsel, the administrative secretary, as well as the sector of industry involved.
The ICC Court began the systematic publication of ICC Awards on 1 April of this year in collaboration with Jus Mundi. Commenting on the development, Mr Mourre said:
“I have no doubt that making non-confidential ICC Awards available to the public on an opt-out basis will not only contribute to greater transparency and better decision-making in ICC Arbitrations, but also strengthen the broader legitimacy of arbitration as a global system of justice. I am also confident that, with time, this measure will increasingly be accepted by the parties and emulated by other institutions.”
Establishing gender parity and improving gender diversity
Alexis Mourre is credited with major advances in gender diversity during his leadership of the ICC Court. Having signed an Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge in 2016, Mr Mourre led the ICC Court and its Bureau to full gender parity in 2018 and has been the driving force behind ICC’s continual improvement in the proportion of women arbitrators in ICC Arbitrations – whether nominated by arbitral parties, co-arbitrators, or the ICC Court. A new composition of the ICC Court is to be announced on 1 July.
The ICC Court is also actively working to increase the regional and generational diversity of its tribunals.
ICC Dispute Resolution Bulletin
During Alexis Mourre’s mandate as President, the ICC Dispute Resolution Bulletin received a makeover. The revamped Bulletin, which includes sections on doctrine, procedural orders and global developments, reflects the improved gender and geographical diversity of its editorial board and authors. The ICC Bulletin, now also fully digital, is available free of charge to ICC members or via subscription through ICC’s Knowledge to Go platform.
Sustained reputation as the world’s preferred arbitral institute
ICC’s ranking as the world’s most preferred arbitral institute has been upheld during Alexis Mourre’s Presidency of the ICC Court. Once again in 2021, a Queen Mary University survey, conducted in partnership with law firm White & Case, recognised ICC as the most preferred institution among arbitration providers arbitration professionals and users worldwide.
ICC wishes to thank Alexis Mourre for his contributions to the ICC mission, including his commitment to continue investing in and innovating our world-leading arbitral process to provide effective alternative dispute resolution methods to support global commerce.
Alexis Mourre’s reflections on his presidency and further insight into the role can be found in this interview.
Claudia Salomon will become ICC Court President on 1 July.