Derains & Gharavi, Paris
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Victory in the ICSID cases DLP v Yemen, Lemire v Ukraine, Telsim v Kazakhstan, Saba Fakes v Turkey and Pantechniki v Albania.
Who in the field do you especially admire?
What other career might you have chosen?
Diplomacy or business.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Be cultural and legally sensitive. Work hard to know the rules and practice and above all the facts. Work with someone that will involve you in every aspect of the profession.
Do you sit as an arbitrator?
Yes, I’ve sat about 50 times – for the first time at the age of 33.
What are the biggest challenges facing arbitration?
Lack of quality of proceedings, arbitrators or awards; and abusive or fraudulent BIT claims.
If you could change one thing about the system...?
I would remove certain arbitrators who are culturally insensitive, or who no longer work and cannot compensate for this even by their intelligence.
What’s been your most memorable moment in a hearing?
Opposing counsel’s question to my witness, who was accused of not doing enough high-level lobbying in China. Question: “Why did not you see Deng Xiao Ping to ask for his intervention in our favour?” Witness: “Simply because he has been dead now for a number of years.”
What’s your favourite city to arbitrate in?
Paris as it is beautiful, logistically convenient and where I have my offices (hence documents) and family.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Apicius and 1728 in Paris.