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Copyright © International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). All rights reserved.
( Source of the document: ICC Digital Library )
This book celebrates John Beechey's distinguished service as President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. It is the tribute of many of John's colleagues and friends to his inspiration, his achievements and his abiding commitment to efficiency and quality, which has been the hallmark of his entire career in international arbitration.
Born in England, John was educated at Dulwich College, South London, and then went up to Christ Church, Oxford to study modern languages (French and German). After graduating, he turned to law, joining the London law firm Clifford-Turner as an Articled Clerk (trainee) in 1975. He was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in November 1977 and became a partner in Clifford-Turner in May 1983. It was the merger of Clifford-Turner with Coward Chance in 1987 that led to the creation of Clifford Chance, the firm with which John was to distinguish himself during the next twenty years as founder and leader of its international arbitration practice. During those years he acquired incomparable practical experience of international arbitration, advising an extremely wide range of clients from both the public and private sectors in international commercial arbitration and investment arbitration.
In addition to his work as counsel, John is an experienced arbitrator. He has conducted, and continues to conduct, cases under all major arbitration rules, including, in addition to the ICC Rules, those of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the European Development Fund (EDF), the American Arbitration Association and its International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA/ICDR), the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC). He has also shown great commitment to arbitral institutions. Prior to his election to the presidency of the ICC Court, he served as a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the American Arbitration Association and as a Vice-President of the Court of the LCIA and a Director of the LCIA.
John's connection with the ICC extends beyond his presidency of the Court and includes being a longtime member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR and the arbitration group of ICC UK, with which he remains closely involved, having been instrumental in setting up ICC UK's newly formed arbitration and ADR committee. As President of the Court, he served as an ex officio member of the ICC's Executive Board and its Governing Body for Dispute Resolution Services, as well as the Council of the ICC Institute of World Business Law, of which he continues to be a member. Outside the ICC, the professional organizations with which John has been closely involved include the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, of which he is a Fellow, and the International Bar Association (IBA), where he notably played an active role in the working groups on the taking of evidence and conflicts of interest in international arbitration.
John took up office as President of the Court on 1 January 2009 and served until 30 June 2015. His presidency was marked by several notable achievements. He initiated and oversaw developments that have strengthened the Court's leading position in international dispute resolution and set standards for contemporary arbitration practice. He spearheaded the introduction and implementation of the 2012 ICC Arbitration Rules; the proposal and creation of a governing body dedicated to long-term strategic planning for ICC dispute resolution; the opening of an office administering ICC arbitrations in New York; an expansion of the Court's Bureau of Vice-Presidents to make it more representative; the Court's move to new premises in Paris and the consolidation of the prestigious position it enjoys in the French capital; and the inauguration of the Jerusalem Arbitration Centre. John was the initiator and the driving force behind many changes to the practices of the ICC Court, the main purpose of which has been to improve the efficiency of the Court and the quality of the service it offers its users. Noteworthy in this respect is the introduction of the practice of inviting prospective arbitrators to indicate their availability when accepting appointments, a change that was subsequently reflected in the 2012 Rules. Alongside all this, he continued masterfully to oversee a caseload that had never been so large or diverse, with an average of almost 800 new filings each year.
John brought to the ICC Court his pragmatic approach and his rich experience as arbitrator and counsel. His natural leadership and sense of fairness were leitmotifs running through his entire presidency. His down-to-earth attitude and enduring and enthusiastic support of the work of the Secretariat of the Court made him highly respected and appreciated by its staff.
Of course, the energy and commitment John gave to the ICC Court owed much to the immeasurable, behind-the-scenes support of his wife, Jenny, a glimpse of which is seen in her kind contribution that follows. While this book marks John's departure from the ICC Court, for Jenny it must signal a homecoming. For this and the years to come, we extend our warmest wishes to them both.
We had the privilege of working with John as Secretary General or Vice-Presidents of the Court. It gives us great pleasure to offer this book to him as a mark of our own appreciation and that of the many friends and colleagues who have contributed to and supported this tribute.
Eric A. Schwartz