Pierre Bienvenu is global co-head of our international arbitration practice. He was managing partner of Ogilvy Renault LLP (one of our two predecessor firms in Canada) from 2005 to 2009 and chaired its executive committee until 2011. He was a member of our global supervisory board from 2011 to 2014.
Mr. Bienvenu is a disputes lawyer with more than 30 years' experience, practising in international commercial arbitration, corporate and commercial litigation, and constitutional law. He has acted as counsel in numerous domestic and international arbitrations, both ad hoc and institutional, involving disputes in telecommunications, aeronautics, international distribution and joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, construction and foreign investment. He is also regularly called upon to represent parties in court proceedings to enforce or set aside foreign or domestic arbitral awards. Mr. Bienvenu serves as arbitrator in international arbitrations and has experience as sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator and chairman of the tribunal. A former co-chair of the IBA’s Arbitration Committee, he is a an alternate member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and a former member of the LCIA Court, of which he was also a vice-president. Until recently, he served as president of the LCIA’s North American Users’ Council.
In addition to appearing before numerous administrative and arbitral tribunals, Mr. Bienvenu has pleaded before the courts of Quebec, the Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada. He has participated in numerous challenges to the constitutional validity of provincial and federal legislation, and has extensive experience in public law litigation. His Supreme Court of Canada experience includes representing government bodies, institutions, corporations and individuals in a range of constitutional and commercial law disputes, including representing the Attorney General of Canada in the landmark Reference re Secession of Quebec, the federally appointed judiciary in the Bodner case and the successful party in the highly publicized Eric v Lola equality case, and acting as co-counsel for BCE and Bell Canada in their successful appeal to the Supreme Court to approve a plan of arrangement for the $50 billion leveraged buyout of BCE by a private equity consortium. A more detailed list of representative experience is found under “Selected Client Work.”
Mr. Bienvenu is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was awarded the distinction Advocatus Emeritus by the Quebec Bar in 2008 and, in 2013, he was presented with the Paul-André Crépeau Medal by the Canadian Bar Association for his contribution to the advancement of the international dimension of private law and commercial law in Canada. He was ranked 11th in the list of the top 25 most highly regarded individuals in the practice of international arbitration worldwide in Who’s Who Legal’s 2016 International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration.
Year of call
LL.M., London School of Economics and Political Science, 1983
LL.L., Université de Montréal, 1981
- “The Lola Case and its Potential Impact on Common Law Spouses in Quebec” (keynote speaker), The Lord Reading Law Society, Montreal, April 19, 2012.
- “Get What You Need: Winning Damages and Other Remedies in International Arbitration” (lead session speaker), IBA Annual Conference, Dubai, UAE, November 2011.
- “Arbitration in the 21st Century: Making it Work” (Co-Chair), Joint IBA-ICC Conference, New Delhi, India, December 2009.
- “Due Process in International Arbitration” (Conference Chair), 12th IBA International Arbitration Day, Dubai, UAE, February 2009.
- “Compensation for Unlawful Expropriation, and Other Recent Manifestations of the Principle of Full Reparation in International Investment Law,” ICCA Congress Series No. 14 (2008).
- “When Transnational Commercial Contracts Come Before International Arbitral Tribunals,” Civil Law Seminar on Contract Law, National Judicial Institute, Halifax, May 2006.
- “The Recognition and Enforcement of Chinese Arbitral Awards Abroad,” IBA and CIETAC Conference on International Arbitration and China: Recent Developments and Current Issues, Shanghai, February 20, 2006.
- “Arbitral Advocacy,” 15th Annual International Commercial Arbitration Workshop (Conference Co-Chair), Institute for Transnational Arbitration, Dallas, Texas, June 17, 2004.
- “Arbitration and Company Law,” Annual Convention, International Bar Association (Committee D), Amsterdam, September 2000.
Selected client work
Mr. Bienvenu acted recently for the following clients:
- Hydro-Québec in an action brought by Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. (CF(L)Co), which was dismissed by the Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal, seeking to revise the pricing terms of the long-term power supply contract between the parties, as well as in a separate, successful action brought by Hydro-Québec before the Quebec Superior Court confirming Hydro-Québec’s interpretation of the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract
- Air Canada in an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the application of the Montreal Convention, an international treaty, to a damages claim under the Official Languages Act
- The successful party in the Eric v Lola case, the highly publicized challenge to the constitutional validity of the treatment of unmarried spouses under the Civil Code of Québec, which was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada early in 2013
- An intervener in the Carter case, in which the Supreme Court of Canada declared constitutionally invalid the Criminal Code prohibition on physician-assisted death
- The Advocates Society, in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the constitutional validity of provisions of the Income Tax Act that seek to exclude accounting records from the ambit of the protection afforded by solicitor-client privilege
- BCE Inc. in its $1.2 billion claim against the private equity sponsors of the failed leveraged buyout of the company
- The Attorney General of Canada in litigation concerning the legality, under both Canadian constitutional law and public international law, of the secession of the Province of Quebec from Canada, including in the landmark Reference re Secession of Quebec by the Government of Canada to the Supreme Court of Canada
- The federally appointed judiciary before the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016), as well as before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Bodner case
- The Canadian Commercial Arbitration Centre before the Supreme Court of Canada in Éditions Chouette (1987) Inc. v Desputeaux, an appeal concerning the arbitrability of copyright disputes; the London Court of International Arbitration before the Supreme Court of Canada, first in Dell Computer Corp. v Union des consommateurs, a case dealing with the enforceability of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, and on a second occasion, in the Yugraneft case, which concerned the legality of local time limitation periods under the New York Convention
- A leading aircraft manufacturer in a number of ICC arbitrations and the acquirer of a railway manufacturing business in an ICC arbitration concerning representations made by the seller
His recent experience as an arbitrator includes:
- ICC arbitration, seated in Stockholm, of multi-billion dollar claims in the nuclear industry (Chairman)
- ICC arbitration, seated in Paris, of a $500 million claim concerning the protection of trade secrets (Chairman)
- ICC arbitration, seated in Paris, of claims and counterclaims of over $350 million in the information technology sector (Chairman)
- ICC arbitration, seated in London, of claims arising out of the cancellation of a licence agreement in the medical sector (Chairman)
- LCIA arbitration, seated in London, of a claim under a political risk insurance policy (Chairman)
- Ad hoc arbitration, seated in Brussels, concerning the termination of a commercial aviation agency agreement (Chairman)
- Ad hoc conciliation, seated in Paris, in a dispute arising out of the taxation of windfall profits in the oil industry (party-appointed conciliator)
Rankings and recognitions
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (since 2005)
Awarded Paul-André Crépeau Medal by the Canadian Bar Association (2013)
Named “Advocatus Emeritus” by the Quebec Bar (2008)
Chambers Canada (2017): Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (Band 1) (“everything you should look for in an arbitrator”)
Chambers Canada (2016-2017): Dispute Resolution(Quebec)(Band 1) (“one of the best litigators in Quebec”)
Chambers Global: Canada (2012-2015) – Dispute Resolution (Quebec) − Band 1; Arbitration (Canada) – Band 1, (“very dynamic”; “one of the most outstanding litigators of his generation in Montreal and beyond”)
Best Lawyers in Canada (2011-2017): Alternative Dispute Resolution; Corporate and Commercial Litigation; Directory and Officer Liability; International Arbitration; Securities Law; (2015-2017): Appellate Practice; Bet-The-Company Litigation
Best Lawyers in Canada – Lawyer of the Year: Alternate Dispute Resolution (Montreal) (2012; 2016); International Arbitration – Montreal (2014)
Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2011-2016): recommended in International Commercial Arbitration; Litigation - Corporate Commercial; Litigation - Public Law
Who’s Who Legal – Arbitration (2016)
The Legal 500 Canada (2014-2015): Dispute Resolution: Quebec
Who’s Who Legal, Canada (2014): Arbitration and Litigation
Benchmark Canada (2012-2014): local litigation star in Quebec (“a unanimous mention”; “a very refined attorney”) and Arbitration star in Canada (“brilliant international arbitration counsel”)
Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (2012-2013): most frequently recommended in the area of Corporate Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
The International Who’s Who of Arbitration Lawyers (2011-2013)
The International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigation Lawyers (2011-2013)
PLC Which Lawyer? (2011-2012): Dispute resolution: international arbitration
Lexpert® Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada (US Litigation Guide) (2011-): International commercial arbitration; Litigation – Corporate commercial
Chambers Global: Canada (2011): Dispute Resolution (Arbitration, Band 1 - “A well-known lawyer in arbitration who is a true luminary of the scene”);
The International Who’s Who of Trade & Customs Lawyers (2011)
Global Arbitration Review (GAR100) (2011-): International Arbitration
Chambers Global Guide (Band I - “Extremely knowledgeable and always well prepared”; “a man of tremendous class and intelligence”; “a superb arbitrator")
Global Arbitration Review 100, (2009): International Arbitration (“undoubtedly the best arbitration counsel in Canada”)
Lexpert-Thomson Guide to the Leading 100 Creative Lawyers in Canada
Memberships and activities
- Optimum Group Inc.
- Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies
Welcome to issue 7 of Norton Rose Fulbright’s International arbitration report..
September 26, 2016
Welcome to issue 6 of Norton Rose Fulbright’s International arbitration report..
May 25, 2016
Sophie Melchers, partner in the Montreal office of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers..
October 29, 2015
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada is pleased to announce that 135 of its lawyers have been ranked in the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada.
August 24, 2015