CIArb News

In Memoriam Emmanuel Gaillard

08 Apr 2021

In Memoriam Emmanuel Gaillard

It is with great sadness that we learnt of Emmanuel Gaillard’s passing on April 1st. The European Branch of the CIArb would like to express its deepest condolences to his family and colleagues, but also to the entire arbitration community worldwide. In France, Europe and beyond, we are all mourning this renowned figure of international arbitration.

Professor Gaillard has shaped uniquely the development of the law and practice of international arbitration in his role as counsel and arbitrator, but also the careers’ of many of us, be it through his teaching, academic writings, practice, speaking events and personal advice.

His influence on and importance in ADR’s is undeniable, as the outpour of tributes being made in his name from people across the world continues. Indeed, he was a very valued and respected member of our community.

Emmanuel Gaillard established the international arbitration practice at Shearman & Sterling in the 1980’s. During his time there he worked on some of the world’s most important arbitrations. Many come to mind, however, it is the representation of the former shareholders of Yukos against Russia, which amounted to a $50 billion arbitration award for which he is best known. 

In February of this year, it was a seminal moment when he decided to start a new adventure with the creation of the boutique firm Gaillard Banifatemi Shelbaya Disputes (GBSD), to do what he excelled at and in which, I am sure his spirit lives on.

Alongside his career as a lawyer, Gaillard also gave back, teaching continuously the next generation of arbitration practitioners at various French universities, including at Sciences-Po, but also at Yale and Harvard. He was generous with his time and intellect.

Only last week, I spoke to Emmanuel Gaillard and was reminded of his youthful energy when he spoke of GBSD and his plans for the firm. From being first introduced to him by Professor Phillippe Fouchard in the 1990s to sending him my book for which he so kindly agreed to write the preface, he has been a strong figure and a model in my career and, I am sure, of many others of my generation. Simply overwhelmed with work, he had to decline my invitation to be our keynote speaker on the occasion of the European Branch’s Annual Conference on State Immunities. He was and remains an inspiration.

I am certainly not the only or first one who has learnt about arbitration from not only his horn book co-authored with Fouchard and Goldman, but also his numerous articles on the philosophy and sociology of arbitration. Indeed, because of what he certainly had planned to further write on, he will leave an immense doctrinal void that will be hard to fill. His name, however, will live on, be in through his writings and legacy at GBSD where many of the team were taught and worked alongside him, taking in his immense knowledge. But also through the writings of others in which he will be a voice of reference for many topics. He will continue to influence arbitration practitioners and academics for the years to come.

Emmanuel was a great leader, lawyer, academic, arbitrator and teacher, but above all, a great man that history will remember. At all levels, in hundreds within the CIArb and more specifically at the European Branch, we will miss him a lot.

Jalal El Ahdab (Jil Ahdab)
European Branch

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