Architects of Global Legal Change: The Untold Story of International Arbitration’s Pioneers

Talk by Florian Grisel as part of the lecture series laboratorium lucernaiuris.

Datum: 30. April 2024
Zeit: 16.15 Uhr bis 17.30 Uhr
Ort: University of Lucerne, Room 3.B48

This lecture unveils the untold story of the early pioneers of international commercial arbitration, a field that helps resolve international business disputes. While many think the pivotal transformation occurred in the 1980s and 1990s due to a rivalry between “grand old men” and “young technocrats”, previously unexplored archives suggests that the pivotal transformation occurred earlier, between the 1950s and 1970s. In this period, a distinct cohort of arbitrators at the International Chamber of Commerce, whom I call the “marginaux sécants” (or “secant marginals”), emerged as leading figures. These individuals brought together diverse legal systems and professions, thereby laying the foundational framework for the emergence of a new global legal profession. This discussion will offer fresh insights on legal globalization, highlighting how these pioneers, by connecting different legal worlds and social systems, paved the way for new ways of governing and collaborating internationally.

Florian Grisel is a Research Fellow at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, affiliated with the University of Strasbourg and the University of Oxford. He holds degrees from Sciences Po Paris (MA), Yale Law School (LL.M.), Columbia University (MPA) and Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (PhD), and his habilitation from Ecole normale supérieure. His research examines how global legal frameworks interact with private governance systems and the implications of these interactions for legal pluralism. He is the recipient of the Alexandre Varenne Prize and the Médaille de Bronze of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique.