Professor Pierre Lalive

Professor Pierre Lalive

Pierre Lalive d’Epinay was born on 8 October 1923 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

He first graduated in literature and law from the University of Geneva and studied at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and at the International Law Academy in The Hague before being awarded a PhD in 1950 from the University of Cambridge in the UK, where he became a Fellow of King’s College and Arthur Goodhardt Professor of Legal Science.

In 1955, he became a professor at the law faculty of the University of Geneva and became the dean of the faculty in 1966.

Professor Lalive was awarded the prestigious Balzan Prize (for private international law) in 1990, and was granted the title of Doctor honoris causa by the Universities of Lyon (1976), Paris II (1982), Brussels (1989) and Rome (1996). He was a Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, at the International Academy of Comparative Law in The Hague, at Columbia University, Torino University Law School, and various other Universities.

He soon became a world-renowned specialist in private and public international law, international business law, arbitration and art law, writing more than 200 contributions on these and other subjects in his lifetime. While retaining a strong focus on academia, Professor Lalive collaborated regularly and eventually joined the law firm, Lalive Budin & Associés, co-founded by his brother Jean-Flavien.

In the 1970s, Professor Lalive co-founded the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) and the ICC Institute of World Business law. Alongside six other experts appointed by the Swiss government, he drafted the 1987 Federal Act on Private International Law, helping to strengthen Switzerland as a leading arbitration venue. In 1989, together with Professor Jean-François Poudret and Professor Claude Reymond, he published Le droit de l’arbitrage interne et international en Suisse, which remained for many years the leading commentary on Swiss arbitration law.

He also played a key role in drafting the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) Convention of 24 June 1995 on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

Professor Pierre Lalive d’Epinay passed away in 2014, aged 91.


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