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J. William Rowley QC


Bill Rowley was elected Chairman of the Canadian firm, McMillan LLP in 1996 and Chairman Emeritus and Special Counsel on his retirement from the partnership in 2009. He relinquished these roles in 2014. He joined 20 Essex Street in 2002, through which he accepts appointments as an international arbitrator.

His practice at the Bar covered all aspects of international commercial law, including competition, contracts, banking, oil industry, insurance, corporate governance and arbitration law and practice. While at McMillan he headed the firm's competition law group from its inception and oversaw the development of its arbitral practice.

He has chaired or participated as a tribunal member or counsel in over 200 international and national arbitrations. These have involved a variety of national laws and investment treaty systems including those of ICSID, NAFTA, the ECT, England, many European states, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bermuda, Cameroon, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Dubai, Georgia, Grenada, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela and Canada, as well as New York, Delaware, California and Illinois.


  • General Commercial law
  • Competition/Antitrust
  • Energy (hydro electric,oil, gas and LNG)
  • Investment disputes
  • Infrastructure project disputes
  • Insurance
  • Public International law


Recent arbitrations have included disputes involving off-shore oilfield PSC's (France/Italy/Netherlands/UK/US/Nigeria), long term LNG supply contracts (UK/US/Spain), hydro electric concessions (UK/Hungary), timber industry licenses/investments (NAFTA/US/Canada), involving gas concession contract disputes (Iraq gas fields, over $20 billion), petroleum industry joint ventures (Kuwait oil fields - US $7B), international trademark licensing (US/UK) gas pricing / repricing formulae (Canada/US/Belgium/Italy/Qatar/Tunisia/Norway/France), international telecom licensing (Bermuda), telecom joint ventures (UK/US/India/Norway/Russia), petroleum industry, AMI's / PSCs and long term supply contracts (India / Africa/Spain/US), power supply projects (Hungary/Philippines/Venezuela), defence industry contract (US/UK) water and sewage services investment (ICSID / Argentina / France), gasoline additives investment (NAFTA / Canada / US),Telecom investment (UK/Belize). Oil and gas supply contracts (Poland/Russia/Venezuela /US/Hungary/Indonesia/Singapore), Steel industry investment (ICSID/Italy/Georgia).


Mr Rowley is not remunerated for service he occasionally provides to McMillan LLP or its clients, has no access to McMillan's information systems, and his arbitration practice is entirely independant of and firewalled from any service he may provide to the firm.


Education and Career: 

Carleton University (undergraduate studies) 1962-1965. University of Ottawa (LLD, University Gold Medal, Magna Cum Laude), 1965-1968. Ontario Bar, 1970 (with Distinction). Quebec Bar, special call. Created Queen's Counsel, 1983. Alberta Bar, 1984. New Brunswick Bar, special call. Chair, IBA Antitrust Committee, 1991-1994, Chairman, Vice-chair, Treasurer, International Bar Association, Section on Business Law, 1995-2001, Co-chair, IBA Global Competition Forum. IBA Councillor Emeritus, 2004. IBA Life Member, 2005, Chairman, LCIA Board, 2012.


"The Guide to Energy Arbitrations," Law Business Research 2nd ed., 2017, General Editor

"Arbitration World - Jurisdictional Comparisons, The European Lawyer, Reference Series" (3rd Ed. forthcoming January 2010), General Editor.(2004-2012), Founding Editor.

"Global Arbitration Review", Law Business Research, Chairman, Editorial Board.

Rowley & Baker: "International Mergers - the Antitrust Process loose-leaf service" (Sweet & Maxwell), co-author (with I. Baker).

A more complete list of publications is available on

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Chairman of the LCIA board, 2012-2017. A member of the LCIA Court until 2017, he remains a member of the board of Directors LCIA India. Member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) (a member of the World Bank Group). Member of the National Panel of Arbitrators for Canada, ICC. Former member of the Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Co-founded and co-chairman, Global Forum on Competition and Trade Policy, London and Washington DC. Editor-in-Chief, Business Law International, London. Member, editorial board of the Competition Policy Record, Toronto. Former member (1980-2008) editorial advisory board, The Antitrust and Trade Regulation Report, Washington DC.

Further panel memberships include: the American Arbitration Association, New York; the German Institute of Arbitration, Cologne; the  Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre; the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, Malaysia; The International Arbitral Centre, Vienna; The Indian Council of Arbitration, New Delhi; the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Melbourne; Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore; and the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.


J. Willillam Rowley QC is listed as a leading expert in the international arbitration field in the principal European and North American expert guides.

He is described as:

"one of the elite international arbitrators" (The New Peace Keepers, 2005)

a "Star Performer" (Legal Business Arbitration Report 2006)

one of London's "Super Arbitrators" (Global Arbitration Review, May 2006)

"Exceptional", "Olympian", "no one ever leaves the chamber with a "sense of injustice"", (Chambers UK Guide, 2008)

"a big character on the scene" (Chambers UK Guide, 2009)

an "extremely strong" arbitrator and a "sensible chairman" (Chambers Arbitration International)

"Most in Demand Arbitrators" (Global Wide, 2013)

"A 'star' in the arbitration field" (GAR Arbitration, 2015)

"He knows international arbitration procedures and rules back to front." (Chambers UK Bar, 2015)

"He case manages excellently and arrives at an intelligently honest result." (Legal 500, 2015)

"Widely acknowledged to be 'as good as it gets', particularly for energy disputes" (Who’s Who Legal Arbitration, 2016)

"He is enormously experienced and knowledgeable. He is almost statesmanlike in the way he conducts an arbitration." (Chambers UK Bar Guide, 2016)

"A first-class arbitrator with a fantastic reputation." (Legal 500 UK, 2016)

"He is incredibly sensible and manages parties extremely well." (Chambers UK Guide, 2017)

"He is a big character with a very strong reputation as one who manages a case well and gets to the heart of the matter." (Who's Who Legal, 2017)

"A top-tier arbitrator" (Legal 500, 2017)

"Well respected, with a reputation for style" (Chambers UK Bar Guide, 2018)

"Regarded as one of the leading arbitrators in the world for international disputes", “a giant reputation” in the international arbitration space as “a top arbitrator" (Who's Who Legal 2018)

"a superb arbitrator" who is "very efficient and extremely charming." Chambers & Partners Global 2018


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