J William Rowley QC


Bill Rowley was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970 and subsequently in other jurisdictions. Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1983, he was elected chairman of McMillan LLP in 1996 and chairman emeritus and special counsel on his retirement from the partnership in 2009. Founded in 1903, McMillan is one of Canada’s leading law firms. He joined 20 Essex Street Chambers in 2002. 20 Essex Street is one of England’s pre-eminent, and longest established, sets of chambers practising in the international arbitration field in both commercial and public international law.

Born in Lindfield, Sussex in 1943, and educated at Trinity College School; Carleton University (1961-1965); he received his LLB (magna cum laude and gold medallist) from the University of Ottawa (1965-1968), where he was editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Law Review. Prior to joining McMillan he served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court of Canada (the Hon Mr Justice Roland A Ritchie) and special assistant to the director (now commissioner) of the Canadian Competition Bureau.

His practice at the Bar has involved all aspects of international commercial law, including competition, contracts, banking, oil industry, insurance, corporate governance and arbitration law and practice. Listed as a leading expert in international arbitration, antitrust and corporate governance in all European and North American expert guides, he is also a noted author and frequent speaker on international competition law and policy issues.

He is co-author (with Donald I Baker) of Rowley & Baker: International Mergers – the Antitrust Process (3rd edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2007). He is the past chairman of the International Bar Association, section on business law, as well as the past chairman of the IBA antitrust and trade committee and its global forum on competition policy. He is a non-executive member of the board of directors of the AVIVA Group Canada Ltd, a past member of the board of governors of the International Capital Markets Group and honorary life member and council member of the International Bar Association.

Mr Rowley is general editor of Arbitration World, The European Lawyer Reference Series, (3rd edition, 2010) and chairman of the editorial board of Global Arbitration Review, Law Business Research. He is described as a ‘Star performer’ (Legal Business Arbitration Report 2006), one of London’s ‘Super arbitrators’ (Global Arbitration Review, May 2006), ‘One of the elite international arbitrators’ (The New Peacekeepers, 2005), “Exceptional”, “Olympian”, “no one ever leaves the chambers with a sense of injustice” (Chambers UK Guide, 2008) and “a big character on the scene” (Chambers UK Guide, 2009).

He has chaired or participated as a tribunal member or counsel in over 100 international and national arbitrations. These have involved a variety of national laws and investment treaty systems including those of ICSID, NAFTA, England, many European states, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bermuda, China, Dubai, Georgia, Grenada, Hungary, India, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Venezuela and Canada, as well as New York, Delaware and California. In addition to multiple ICC arbitrations, he has conducted cases under other rules such as those of UNCITRAL, the LCIA, the AAA, the SCC and a number of domestic regimes.

Recent arbitrations have included petroleum industry joint ventures (Iraq oil fields, US$20+ billion; Kuwait oil fields, US$7 billion, Nigerian oil fields US$4+ billion), gas pricing and repricing formulae (Belgium, Canada, Italy, Qatar and US), Bermuda form insurance claims (Bermuda, New York and London), international trademark licensing (Germany, Japan, US and UK), various investor and state disputes (ICSID and NAFTA), international telecoms licensing (EU, US, India and Bermuda), telecoms joint ventures (Australia, Mauritius, India, UK and US), oil supply contracts (Poland and Russia, Netherlands and Russia, and Venezuela and US, Hungary and Ukraine) production-sharing contracts and AMI’s for petroleum products (Africa, Australia, Singapore and India), aerospace defence contract dispute (US and UK), power supply project (Hungary, Peru and Philippines), water and sewage services investment dispute (ICSID, Argentina and France), gasoline additives investment dispute (NAFTA, Canada and US), and telecoms investment dispute (UK and Belize).

A former member of the LCIA Court, he serves on its board of directors as well as that of LCIA India (Pvt) Ltd. He is a member of the National Panel of Arbitrators for Canada; ICC, Paris; panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID, a member of the World Bank Group); and a former member of the Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Further panel memberships include those of ADR Chambers International; the American Arbitration Association (ICDR Panel of Neutrals), Dublin and New York; the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa; the German Institute of Arbitration, Cologne; 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; and Singapore International Arbitration Centres, Singapore.

He is co-founder and a director of the Global Forum on Competition Trade Policy, London and Washington DC; the founding editor of Business Law International, London; is a current or former advisory board member of Arbitration Place, Toronto, the Antitrust and Trade Regulation Report, Washington, DC, and the Competition Policy Record, Toronto; the Antitrust Report, New York; Global Competition Review, London; and The European Lawyer, London. He was antitrust editor, Canadian Law Newsletter, Washington, DC and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

He is married to the former Janet Newman. He has two children, Christopher and John. His hobbies include angling, shooting and painting.

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