Jean Flavien Lalive d’Epinay

Jean Flavien Lalive d’Epinay

Jean Flavien Lalive d’Epinay, whose family was originally from the canton of Fribourg, was born on 1 May 1915 in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland.

Me Jean Flavien Lalive studied at the Faculty of Law in Geneva and at the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI), where he was awarded the Prix Aubert. Having obtained a scholarship with the International Court of Justice, he left for the United States from 1936 to 1938 to continue his studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Massachusetts) and to undertake legal research at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools. He was admitted to the Geneva bar in 1940, receiving his brevet d’avocat in 1942. In 1992, his 50 years of service at the bar was recognised with the prestigious Medaille Bellot.

From 1941 to 1946, he worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross and, from 1947 to 1953, served as First Secretary of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Until 1958, he was the legal and political advisor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), based in Beirut. After leaving this position, he worked as Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, an international human rights non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, until 1961, then as a lawyer in private practice Geneva, establishing in 1965 the firm that we know today, nearly 60 years later, as LALIVE.

Jean Flavien was for several decades an eminent figure in international arbitration, in particular through his involvement in several prominent cases (Sapphire v. Iran, Texaco & Calasiatic v. Libya, Aminoil v. Kuwait, Westland Helicopters v. Egypt, to name a few) and his courses at The Hague Academy of International Law on the immunity of jurisdiction of states and international organisations (1953) and on contracts between states or state entities and private persons (1983), which remain seminal studies on these subjects.

Jean Flavien Lalive d’Epinay passed away in 2012, aged 96.


Back to our heritage