L. Yves Fortier, CC, OQ, QC, LLD

Chairman Emeritus, Norton Rose OR, Senior Partner, Lawyer

L. Yves Fortier


T:+1 514.847.4740

F:+1 514.286.5474

L. Yves Fortier is Chairman Emeritus of Norton Rose OR and is recognized as one of the top arbitrators in the world.

Mr. Fortier has served as Chairman or party-appointed arbitrator on more than 100 arbitral tribunals, either ad hoc or constituted by different arbitral institutions, including the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (Paris), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Court (HKIAC), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the American Arbitration Association, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the Canadian Commercial Arbitration Centre, the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre and the ADR Chambers International Panel. He has also served as Chairman or party-appointed arbitrator on more than 30 Investor-State International Tribunals. From 1984 to 1989 he was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

From July 1988 until January 1992, Mr. Fortier took leave from his law practice to take up an appointment as Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. During his term at the United Nations, Mr. Fortier was Canada’s Chief Delegate to the 43rd, 44th, 45th and 46th Sessions of the UN General Assembly. In September 1990, he was elected Vice-President of the 45th General Assembly. From January 1989 to December 1990, Mr. Fortier served as Canada’s Representative on the Security Council of the United Nations and in 1989 he was President of the Council.

As a trial lawyer Mr. Fortier has pleaded important cases before all court jurisdictions in Canada and before domestic and international arbitral tribunals. He has also served as counsel to many Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry in Quebec and Canada.

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  • Year of call
    Quebec 1960
  • Law school
    B.C.L., McGill University, 1958
  • Education
    B.Litt. (Rhodes Scholar), University of Oxford, 1960
    B.A., Université de Montréal, 1955
  • Speaking engagements
    • “The New York Convention: 50 Years,” IBA Post-Conference Welcoming Address, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 2008
    • “The Promise of International Commercial Arbitration: Is it Delivering and Can it Continue to Deliver?” LCIA / Ogilvy Renault Symposium, 2004
    • “The Principle and Practice of Arbitrability: Do We Have the Ability to Deal With the Consequences?” International Economic Dispute: A Wider Perspective, paper delivered at the LCIA Colloquium, Cambridge, UK, 2004
    • “International Commercial Arbitration in Canada: A Brief Introduction,” LCIA / ICSID Symposium, Washington, 2003
    • “Ethics in International Commercial Arbitration,” LCIA / ICSID Symposium, Washington, 2003
    • “Les exigences minimales de la procédure équitable dans la mise en oeuvre de mesures visant à contrer des tactiques dilatoires,” 14th CICA Conference, 1998
    • “Party Autonomy in International Arbitration,” presentation to the International Arbitration Club, 1998
    • “Les droits de l'homme: Perspective onusienne / Human Rights: View from the United Nations,” paper delivered at the Faculty of Law, McGill University, 1990
  • Selected client work

    Mr. Fortier has acted for the following parties:

    • The Government of Quebec as its special negotiator with the Cree Nation (1993) and as its lead negotiator with the Innu Nation (2006-    )
    • The Secretary General of the United Nations as his Special Envoy to Malaysia (1997) and his Personal Representative and Mediator in the Equatorial Guinea and Gabon boundary dispute (2003-2008)
    • The Government of Nova Scotia as its lead counsel before the international tribunal constituted to determine the offshore boundary between the province of Nova Scotia and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (2001)
    • The Government of Canada as its lead counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada Reference concerning Quebec (1998)
    • Canada, as counsel before the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Canada-US Gulf of Maine Maritime Boundary case (1984) and before the ad hoc International Tribunal constituted to determine the maritime boundary between Canada and France in the North Atlantic (1991)

    Mr. Fortier has also acted as an adjudicator in the following matters:

    • The land and maritime boundary dispute between Bahrain and Qatar (1997) and the boundary dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua (2002) as Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice  
    • The United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva (Iraq-Kuwait) as Chairman of Panel “C” (1993) and Panel F3 (1999)
    • The Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland as Arbitrator and Senior Claims Judge (1998)
    • Ireland v United Kingdom (the MOX Plant Case) as a member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
    • The Eurotunnel dispute (France-Manche v UK and France) as a member of the international arbitral tribunal
  • Rankings and recognitions
    • 2011 Lexpert® Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada (US Litigation Guide), International commercial arbitration
    • Best Lawyers’ Lawyer of the Year, 2011 - International Arbitration, Montréal
    • Best Lawyers in Canada, 2011 - International Arbitration, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Administrative and Public Law
    • PLC Which lawyer? 2011 - Dispute resolution: international arbitration; Dispute resolution
    • The International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration Lawyers, 2011
    • The International Who’s Who of Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers, 2011
    • Global Arbitration Review (GAR100), 2011 - International Arbitration
    • Best Lawyers’ Lawyer of the Year, 2010 - Alternative Dispute Resolution, Montréal
    • Chambers Global Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers (Dispute Resolution: Arbitration and International Arbitration: Most In Demand Arbitrators)
    • Lexpert / American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers for Canada - Most frequently recommended for International Arbitration  
    • International Commission of Jurists’ Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award (2008)
    • Doctor of International Studies honoris causa, Université Laval (2008)
    • The American Lawyer / Focus Europe - Arbitration Scorecard (2007): Top Arbitrator in the World
    • Advocatus Emeritus, Quebec Bar (2007)
    • Director Emeritus for Excellence in Corporate Governance in Quebec (2007)
    • Officer of the Ordre National du Québec (2006)
    • Doctor of Commerce honoris causa, Ryerson University (2004)
    • Companion of the Order of Canada (1991)
    • President’s Award, Canadian Bar Association (1993)
    • Médaille d’Or, Quebec Bar (1992)
    • Doctor of Laws honoris causa: Law Society of Upper Canada (1989), Acadia University (1992), University of British Columbia (1993), Université de Montréal (2000), McGill University (2006)
    • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Memberships and activities
    • International Council of Advisors, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
    • Fellow, Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada, member of the Advisory Council, Quebec Chapter
    • Former President, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) (1998-2001)
    • Honorary Vice-President, LCIA
    • Canadian Bar Association, National President (1982-1983), Founding Director, Law for the Future Fund
    • American Bar Association (honorary member)
    • International Commission of Jurists (Canadian Section)
    • International Bar Association
    • Union Internationale des Avocats
    • ICC Institute of International Business Law and Practice
    • International Law Association (Canadian Branch)
    • American College of Trial Lawyers (member, Board of Regents, 1992-1996)
    • The College of Commercial Arbitrators
    • The CPR International Panel of Distinguished Neutrals
    • The International Arbitration Club
    • American Society of International Law
    • Former Member, the C.D. Howe Institute
    • Patron, Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR)
    • Patron, International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development
    • Trilateral Commission (member of the North American Executive Committee) (1993-2003)
  • Directorships
    • Director, Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited (2007- )
    • Director, Nova Chemicals Corporation (1998 - )
    • Former Director and Chairman of the Board, Alcan Inc. (2002-2007)
    • Former Governor and Director, Hudson’s Bay Company (1997-2006)
    • Former Director, Royal Bank of Canada
    • Former Director, Nortel Networks Corporation and Nortel Networks Limited
    • Former Director, TransCanada PipeLines Limited
    • Former Director, DuPont Canada Inc.
    • Former Director, Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
    • Former Director, Jannock Inc.
    • Former Director, Les Entreprises J. René Ouimet Inc.
    • Former Director, Patino Mining Corporation
    • Former Director, Westinghouse Canada Inc.
    • Former Governor, McGill University
    • Former Director, Montreal Neurological Institute and Clinical Research Institute of Montreal
    • Former Director, International Peace Academy
    • Former Director, United Nations International School
    • Vice-Chairman, the Historica Foundation of Canada
    • Director, Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies
    • Executive Board of the International Association of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations
    • Former Trustee, International Accounting Standards Board (IASC) (2000-2007)