Shocking, completely unexpected news: Emmanuel Gaillard, the leading scholar and practitioner of international arbitration and a giant in the field, died on April 1, at age 69. Pierre Mayer calls this “an immense loss;” Jean-Dominique Merchet calls him a “star”. Le Monde du droit collected some further reactions from French colleagues. Some eulogies in English are here and here. The International Chamber of Commerce also published a brief statement, as did the International Academy of Comparative Law. Diego P. Fernández Arroyo and Alexandre Senegacnik have an extensive eulogy on the SciencesPo site that also includes links to further testimonies.
Only two months ago, Gaillard had left Sherman Sterling, whose international arbitration department he had founded in 1989 and led since then, and founded a spinoff with six other former Shearman Sterling colleagues, Gaillard Shelbaya Banifatemi. His new law firm, announcing the death, called him “a totem in the world of international arbitration and a source of inspiration for lawyers around the world.” The law firm asks to share memories for a memorial book to be shared with his family and close ones.
Gaillard was well known as a practitioner (his biggest case may have been Yukos, though he had countless others) as well as a scholar (his Hague lectures on the “Legal theory of arbitration”, republished as a book and translated into several languages,, were a crucial step towards a more theoretical understanding of the field.) Most recently, he had been instrumental for OHADA’s decision to let Sherman Sterling draft a new private international law code for the region. The firm’s own statement of that decision is, however, down. The project, if continued, will need to go on without him. RIP.