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Sir Bernard Rix

Bernard Rix is a recently retired Lord Justice of Appeal with twenty years experience in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, who now accepts appointments as an arbitrator and mediator. He is a member of the HKIAC Panel of Arbitrators, a member of the MOOGAS Panel of International Arbitrators and Mediators, has been appointed to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, and is an ADR Group accredited mediator. In addition, he has recently been appointed as Professor of International Commercial Law at Queen Mary, University of London.

His university education was at New College, Oxford and Harvard Law School. He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1970 and practised in commercial chambers at 3 Essex Court. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1981.

In 1993 he was appointed to the High Court and sat predominantly in the Commercial Court of which he was judge in charge in 1998-99. In that year he was responsible for introducing to the Commercial Court the Woolf Reforms to civil procedure law (the CPR) and for redrafting the Commercial Court's Guide and Practice Directions. In 2000 he was appointed to the Court of Appeal, from which he retired in May 2013.

At the Bar he specialised in international commercial and arbitral disputes as a barrister and latterly as an arbitrator, and also appeared in the courts of Singapore and Hong Kong. He was counsel in Mareva Compania Naviera SA v. International Bulkcarriers SA [1975] 2 Lloyd's Rep 509, the eponymous origin of the "Mareva injunction", now called a freezing order; in I Congreso del Partido [1983] 1 AC 244 (HL) which introduced the commercial exception to English law's previous absolute doctrine of sovereign immunity; and in Channel Tunnel Group Ltd v. Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd [1992] 1 QB 656 (CA, affirmed in the House of Lords) concerning the operation of the arbitration clause in the contract for construction of the Channel Tunnel.

In the Commercial Court, his judgments include The Angelic Grace [1994] 1 Lloyd's Rep 168, upheld by the Court of Appeal [1995] 1 Lloyd's Rep 87, which is the modern origin of the anti-suit injunction for breach of an arbitration clause or an exclusive jurisdiction clause.

As a member of the Court of Appeal, he has delivered a wide range of judgments on arbitration, aviation, banking, insurance and reinsurance, private and public international law, oil and gas, sale of goods and shipping disputes. They include significant judgments such as Dallah v. Government of Pakistan [2010] Bus LR 384 on international enforcement of arbitration awards (upheld by the Supreme Court), Kuwait Airways v. Iraqi Airways (Nos 4 and 5) [2002] 2 AC 883 (parts 22-35 and 43-54 of the Court of Appeal judgment, upheld by the House of Lords) on international law, and R (Al-Skeini) v. Secretary of State for Defence [2007] QB 140 (upheld by the House of Lords) on the jurisdictional scope of the European Convention of Human Rights, and Yukos v. Rosneft (No 2) [2013] 1 All ER (Comm) 327, on the act of state doctrine.

Other positions held include:

  • FCIArb
  • Chairman of COMBAR 1992-93
  • Treasurer of the Inner Temple 1995
  • Honorary Fellow, New College, Oxford
  • Honorary Fellow, Queen Mary's, University of London
  • President of BILA (British Insurance Law Association)
  • Trustee, BIICL (British Institute of International and Comparative Law)
  • A past President, Harvard Law School Association of the UK
  • Chairman, Advisory Council, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, QMUL
  • Director, London Philharmonic Orchestra

For an extensive CV click here


"an exceptional arbitrator." Who's Who Legal 2018

"He is a very clever man - extremely quick and responsive, particularly as chairman." Who's Who Legal 2018

"Very experienced, bright and commercial." Chambers & Partners 2018

"Down to earth." Legal 500 2017

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