Stikeman Elliott
Litigation and Advocacy
International Arbitration

International arbitration has become the principal forum for the resolution of international commercial and investment disputes and offers the following benefits:

  • a neutral forum in which the parties may choose the decision-maker;

  • avoidance of the risk, uncertainties and expense of appearing in a foreign court;

  • party autonomy, allowing parties the freedom to agree on appropriate procedures;

  • flexibility to adapt procedures to a dispute, its complexity and urgency;

  • confidentiality and privacy, not found in domestic courts.

For such international disputes, clients require seasoned counsel with a deep understanding of the arbitral process. Our practice has been ranked first in Canada for the number of leaders in this field by Best Lawyers in Canada. Many of our lawyers are trained in both common law and civil law traditions and many have experience both as counsel and as arbitrators in international disputes, as well as extensive high-level government experience. As a result, we are uniquely positioned to understand the important legal issues and the strategic business factors at play to achieve a successful cost-effective resolution for our clients.

Industry Experience

Our experience extends across a variety of industries, including:

  • aviation;

  • banking and finance;

  • construction and infrastructure projects;

  • energy, oil and gas, and mining;

  • information technology, outsourcing and telecommunications;

  • insurance (including coverage disputes involving marine, energy, liability and D&O) and re-insurance;

  • joint venture and corporate disputes;

  • mergers and acquisitions;

  • property development and related investment;

  • sales, purchases and licensing agreements;

  • shipping and international trade;

  • sports organizations, teams and athletes.

Our Services

As Counsel

Our lawyers are skilled as counsel in the conduct of international ad hoc arbitrations, under the UNCITRAL rules, as well as domestic ad hoc arbitrations throughout Canada. We are also experienced in arbitrations administered under the rules of the following institutions:

  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) (International Court of Arbitration);

  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA);

  • American Arbitration Association (AAA) and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR);

  • International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID);

  • Court of Arbitration for Sport;

  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);

  • ADR Chambers and ADR Institute of Canada;

  • Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS);

  • Association of Maritime Arbitrators of Canada (AMAC);

  • Canadian Commercial Arbitration Center (CCAC).

Where necessary, our team members appear in Canadian courts for the enforcement or recognition of arbitral awards or where arbitral proceedings are in issue. Our practitioners also assist our corporate lawyers in the negotiation and drafting of arbitration clauses, particularly in complex international transactions.

Our members are active in many of the leading arbitration organizations, including the ICC's affiliate, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Arbitration Committee and Panel, the LCIA and the ICDR. Some of our lawyers are also founding members of the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society.

Given the breadth of our experience in international or cross-border disputes, we are able to seamlessly navigate and manage jurisdictional and related issues either as lead counsel or working cooperatively as local counsel within a larger international advisory team.

The skills of our advocates are well suited for international arbitration proceedings. Our international arbitration practitioners are part of our commercial litigation group which is recognized as one of the best in Canada. They have honed their skills of examination and cross examination and of oral and written argument in the conduct of trials and hearings in complex business disputes before sophisticated commercial courts and tribunals across Canada. These skills have been further refined and adapted for arbitrations, both domestic and international. Our foreign language capacity, knowledge of, and ease with, the common and civil law traditions permits us to bridge potential linguistic, cultural, as well as legal divisions which may surface in international disputes. We can and do offer recognized skill and excellence in arbitral advocacy which matches the best available in other arbitration centers, with greater cost efficiency.

As Arbitrators

Canadian arbitrators are highly regarded throughout the world and a number of our senior counsel are regularly appointed to act as arbitrators in substantial international disputes in ad hoc and institutional arbitrations through the ICC, ICDR, LCIA and ICSID as well as domestic institutions. This experience acting as arbitrator serves to expand our capabilities, experience and knowledge of the international arbitral process which in turn enhances our capabilities when acting as counsel on behalf of our clients.

Recognition for Our Work

Individual lawyers in our practice have been acknowledged as Canadian leaders in the area of Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution by national and international directories such as The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, The Best Lawyers in Canada, The International Who's Who of Commercial Arbitration and Who's Who Legal: Canada.

Members from our Toronto and Montréal offices are co-authors of the Arbitration in Canada chapter in the globally distributed publication Getting the Deal Through - Arbitration, published by UK's Law Business Research, which provides comparative international analysis and addresses the most important issues that arise in international arbitration.

Specialty Areas
Key Contacts

Peter J. Cullen
Pierre J. Dalphond
Éric Mongeau

Douglas F. Harrison
Related Publications