International Arbitration  

International arbitration is used to resolve disputes arising out of both international commercial contracts and investment treaties. It allows parties from different legal and cultural backgrounds to choose arbitrators to resolve their disputes in a neutral, private, and efficient forum instead of resorting to national courts. The enforcement of international arbitral awards is supported by international treaties acceded to by most countries in the world. Often it is the only practical means for pursing international commercial claims, and when implemented effectively in international contracts is an important part of a business’ risk management planning.

International arbitrations take place in all parts of the world involving the laws of numerous jurisdictions. International arbitration counsel and arbitrators are not limited by geography. English is the most frequently used language of international arbitration. The procedure is usually an innovative combination of common law and civil law procedures customized to fit the dispute and the parties. Written and oral advocacy in international arbitration most often resemble the style of advocacy used in Canada.

Our Group

Our International Arbitration Group was established in 2009 with the firm’s commitment  to developing a globally competitive international arbitration practice based in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Ottawa is a multicultural, bilingual city at the crossroads of English/American common law and French civil law and an ideal location for an international arbitration practice with a global focus. We also have a presence in Paris, enabling us to work closely with clients and law firms in Europe and beyond.

Our International Arbitration Group is ranked among the top international arbitration practices in the world in Global Arbitration Review’s GAR 100, and is recognized in other leading legal directories including Chambers Global, Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, Legal 500, PLC Which Lawyer, Who’s Who Legal, and Guide to the World’s Leading Commercial Arbitration Experts.

Barry Leon, Partner and Group Head, leads our International Arbitration team. Barry, who joined the firm in 2009 from leading Canadian law firm Torys in Toronto, is described as being “one of Canada’s most high-profile arbitration practitioners” (GAR 100, 4th edition). Barry is also described as “one of the finest counsel in Canada” and a “class act” (Who’s Who Legal, October 2011). Barry has more than 30 years of experience as counsel in complex and significant disputes involving many different industries. He is the Chair of ICC Canada, and also serves as an arbitrator and mediator.

Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall is Special Counsel to the firm and its International Arbitration Group. Previously a Partner with the firm and founder of its International Arbitration Group, Andrew has practiced full-time in international arbitration for over a decade, working primarily as counsel and also as arbitrator in a wide range of disputes around the world involving up to several billions of dollars. He is an International Arbitration Partner with leading international arbitration firm, White & Case LLP. Andrew was ranked in 2011 among Global Arbitration Review's 45 Under 45 as one of the leading international arbitration lawyers in the world and was selected in 2009 as one of Lexpert’s Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40. Andrew is described in Chambers Global 2011 as “among the next generation of Canadian arbitration stars”.

Firm Co-Chairman and Partner, R. Aaron Rubinoff, is also an International Arbitration Partner in the Group. Aaron is one of the National Capital Region’s leading counsel and has represented clients in domestic and international arbitration and commercial litigation for over 20 years. He has particular experience in commercial and intellectual property disputes.

With over 40 years of experience, firm Chairman Emeritus and Founding Partner, Thomas A. McDougall, Q.C. is the fourth senior member in the Group. Tom has acted as counsel in numerous complex and significant commercial arbitrations, both international and domestic, and in court litigation, encompassing a wide range of industries and including commercial, real estate, intellectual property, and insurance disputes.

The International Arbitration Group has two dedicated full-time arbitration associates, in addition to several other associate lawyers in the firm who work regularly on arbitration matters as part of their disputes practice.

This level of international arbitration experience and knowledge is rare in Canada and competitive globally.

Our Strengths

A significant amount of our work is unrelated to Canada, and we provide value to our Canadian and international clients around the world by delivering high-quality legal services at a sensible cost in line with our clients’ objectives. The size and structure of our team allows us to provide quality senior partner-level involvement. Our location and the size of our firm free us of conflicts that often exist in larger firms and give us a lower cost structure and fee structure flexibility. We are able to enter into value billing and other alternative fee arrangements that align us best with our clients’ interests.

Our Ottawa lawyers help clients manage risks in international business by developing dispute resolution procedures that protect our clients’ interests; heading off expensive, distracting, and time-consuming disputes; and resolving disputes efficiently, effectively, and successfully when they are unavoidable. We believe that a key to success in doing this is a solid, efficient, and effective working partnership with our clients, particularly with in-house counsel who play a vitally important role in almost all of a corporation’s or state’s disputes. We are competitive in meeting today’s client demands by being responsive and providing cost-effective solutions. We have the flexibility to do so. We believe that our clients – whether in Canada, the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, or Latin America – value the quality and cost of our services.

Our lawyers work extensively with other law firms from around the world, supporting existing legal teams by providing specialized international arbitration expertise; representing other law firms’ clients when there is a conflict of interest; representing parties with parallel interests; and handling arbitrations for clients where cost issues arise.

Members of our International Arbitration Group also serve as arbitrators and mediators. Barry Leon is Chair of ICC Canada (the Canadian National Committee of the ICC), and a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration, and the ICDR’s Roster of Arbitrators. He serves an arbitrator and mediator with ADR Chambers in Canada. Andrew McDougall is a member of the ICC’s Canadian and French National Committees and the ICDR’s Roster of Arbitrators and is a member of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada’s Roster of Arbitrators.

“What sets Perley-Robertson apart is that they really assigned the top people to the case and gave it their full heart and attention.” (GAR 100, 4th edition)

Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. and White & Case LLP are not associated firms.