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School of Law

Professor Stavros Brekoulakis, LLB (Athens) LLM (London) PhD (London)

Stavros

Professor of International Arbitration and Commercial Law

Email: s.brekoulakis@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8215
Room Number: Lincoln's Inn Fields

Profile

Professor Stavros Brekoulakis' CV [PDF 228KB]

Stavros Brekoulakis is a Professor and the Director of the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London; Brekoulakis also practices as an arbitrator at 3 Verulam Buildings (Gray’s Inn).

He teaches courses in International Commercial Arbitration, International Investment law and Arbitration, International Construction Contracts and Arbitration, International Commercial Litigation and Conflict of Laws, and International Commercial Law.

Brekoulakis is widely recognised as a leading authority in the field of international arbitration and has been invited to give the 2026 Summer Course on Private International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law.

He is regularly listed in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration and Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration Thought Leader, being praised as “a powerhouse in international arbitration” with “a seemingly encyclopaedic recall of jurisprudence”; “a reigning thought leader in the arbitration space”, “one of the great minds in the international arbitration world”.

In 2020, Brekoulakis received the Global Arbitration Review Award for Best Public Lecture for his Roebuck Arbitration Lecture on “The Policy Favouring Arbitration Under English Law”.

His academic work includes the leading books on Third Parties in International Arbitration (OUP 2010), Arbitrability (Kluwer 2008), Third Party Funding in International Arbitration (report commissioned by the International Council of Commercial Arbitration 2018) and numerous articles in leading law journals and reviews, including the Modern Law Review, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Fordham International Law Journal, Pennsylvania State Law Review, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, American Review of International Arbitration, Journal of International Arbitration.

Brekoulakis is currently leading a major empirical and interdisciplinary (law, psychology, and politics) project on Impartiality in Arbitral Decision Making; working on a book on The Policies of English Arbitration Law (OUP forthcoming); working on an edited volume on International Commercial Courts (CUP forthcoming); and participates in the long-term Comparative Law and Procedure Project of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg.

His academic work is widely cited both by peers and with approval by international tribunals and national courts in several jurisdictions, including the Privy Council, the High Court of England and Wales, the US Southern District of New York, and the India Supreme Court.

Brekoulakis has strong experience in senior administrative positions in academia being the Director of Graduate Studies and the Co-Director of Research of Queen Mary School of Law for several years, leading the School’s 2021 REF submission.

Outside academia, has led important policy projects and advised a wide number of governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organisations, including being the Co-Chair of the International Council of Commercial Arbitration Task Force on Third Party Funding, a member of the Investment Expert Trade Advisory Group of the UK Department for International Trade and a member of the Steering Committee of the UNCITRAL Academic Forum on Investor-State Dispute Settlement. He serves in several public positions and commissions of trust including being a member of the governing body of the London Court of International Arbitration, a member of the Commission on Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration, and an Assistant Rapporteur in the International Law Association Committee of International Commercial Arbitration.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Arbitration, Mediation and Dispute Management; the General Editor of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement; the Co-editor of Kluwer’s International Arbitration Law Library series; a member of the Editorial Board of the Arbitration International; and a member of the Editorial Board of the International Chamber of Commerce Bulleting on International Arbitration.

He has been a visiting professor at Vienna University, Geneva University, National University of Singapore, New York University (NYU) and Athens University.

Brekoulakis is a popular speaker and invited to speak in several academic conferences and professional events annually. He has organised and co-organised many leading academic conferences in his academic career.

Brekoulakis practices law as an arbitrator at 3 Verulam Buildings (Gray’s Inn) and has been appointed in more than 60 international investment and commercial arbitrations, as chairman, sole arbitrator, and co-arbitrator under the rules of all major international arbitration institutions. Find out more about his arbitration work and experience.

Research

Research outputs of Brekoulakis have been included as part of the QMUL’s submission for the 2008, 2014 and 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

His approach to researching the law of international arbitration is cross-disciplinary cutting across private and public international law. Equally, he employs a variety of methods of inquiry, including doctrinal, theoretical, historical, and empirical methods of legal investigation.

  • His current research projects evolve around the following areas:
  • Policies, Public Policy and the protection of the Public Interest in the law of Arbitration
  • Legal Reasoning and Decision Making, Procedural Justice and the Legal Doctrine of Impartiality
  • Consent, Third Parties and Non-Signatories in International Arbitration
  • Ethics and Regulation of Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration

Brekoulakis is currently leading a major empirical and interdisciplinary (law, psychology and politics) project on Impartiality in Investor State Dispute Settlement. This is a five-year research project which employs a mix-empirical methodology (interviews, surveys and content analysis) aimed at investigating the legal doctrine of impartiality in arbitral decision making.

He is also working on a book on The Policies of English Arbitration Law (OUP forthcoming); working on an edited volume on International Commercial Courts (CUP forthcoming); and participates in the long-term Comparative Law and Procedure Project of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg

Publications

Monographs, Edited Volumes and Textbooks

  • Monograph, The Policies of English Arbitration Law (OUP forthcoming). The book provides a historical and doctrinal account as well as a critical assessment of the policies, including public policy, underpinning English arbitration law.
  • Edited Volume, International Commercial Courts: The Future of Transnational Adjudication (CUP forthcoming).
  • Edited Volume, The Plurality and Synergies of Legal and Regional Traditions in International Arbitrations: Looking Beyond the Common and Civil Law Divide (Kluwer Law Forthcoming).
  • Textbook, on International Construction Contracts and Arbitration 4nd Edition (Global Arbitration Review 2019).
  • Edited Volume, The Evolution and Future of International Arbitration (Kluwer Law 2016). The book includes contributions from all leading arbitration scholars and practitioners as well as distinguished judges. The book offers an account of the remarkable evolution of international arbitration as an academic subject and as a distinct field of practice.
  • Monograph, Third Parties in International Commercial Arbitration (Oxford University Press, 2010) The book is the first treatise on the subject, has already sold more than 2,000 copies, and has received enthusiastic reviews as being “deeply researched”, “talented, innovative and far researching” (further reviews are available at: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199572083.do). Further, the book has been cited in the highly prestigious Restatement of US Law on Arbitration. Restatements are a set of treatises produced by the American Law Institute that seek to inform judges and scholars; they are considered of exceptional academic importance and esteem, and they rarely include references to non-US scholars.
  • Edited Volume, Arbitrability: International and Comparative Perspectives (Kluwer 2009). This is the first complete study in English of this complicated subject. It has been very positively reviewed by journals in English (among which the International Council of Commercial Arbitration and the International Arbitration journal) Spanish and Japanese.

Articles in Peer-reviews and Referred Journals

  • Impartiality as a Context-Dependent Concept: A new Approach to Assessing Impartiality in Investor State Dispute Settlement” (forthcoming 2022). This is the first article arising out of the major empirical and interdisciplinary (law, psychology and politics) project on Impartiality in Investor State Dispute Settlement, which Brekoulakis leads. Drawing draws on preliminary insights from this the project as well as on theory from moral philosophy, the article, for the first time, challenges the conceptual foundations and appropriateness of the judicial doctrine of impartiality found in the adjudication system of Investor State Dispute Settlement, and proposes a new approach to understanding and assessing impartiality in this system of adjudication.
  • Dissecting Influence in Investor State Dispute Settlement” (forthcoming 2022). This is the second article arising out of the Impartiality in Investor State Dispute Settlement research project. It is the first article that examines the role and function of influence in Investor State Dispute Settlement. It applies a theoretical framework of influence developed by Cox and Jacobson and draws on empirical data from interviews with key actors in the Investor State Dispute Settlement system to understand the construction of influence in Investor State Dispute Settlement decision-making.  The paper argues that influence should be recognised as an important element in the Investor State Dispute Settlement decision making process. In this context, the construction of influence in Investor State Dispute Settlement decision is a reflection of both external and internal facets of the individual arbitrator
  • The Evolution of Public Policy and Judicial Function in English LawJOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE SETTLEMENT (2019), Volume 10, Issue 3, pp. 1-24. The article is concerned with the function of English judges in employing the doctrine of public policy to decide cases under common law. For the first time, the article offers a critical appraisal of the recent evolution of public policy and decision making under English law from a structured doctrine of legal rules and limited judicial discretion to an open-ended principle of subjective evaluations. The main thesis of the article is that the latest judicial amendment of the nature of the public policy inquiry constitutes a radical and unnecessary departure from generally accepted propositions on the appropriate function of English judges in addressing issues of public policy. Dry run assessments for the 2021 REF have rated this article as 4*. The article was the basis for Brekoulakis’ 2019 Roebuck Lecture which received the 2020 Global Arbitration Review Award for Best Public Speech.
  •  The Historical Treatment of Arbitration under English Law and the Development of the Policy Favouring ArbitrationOXFORD JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES, (2019) Volume 38, Issue 1 pp.1-28. The article examines the judicial attitude and the development of the policy of English law favouring arbitration. It suggests that, contrary to the prevailing narrative in legal literature, English judicial attitudes in the 18th and 19th centuries never reflected a hostility to arbitration. As is demonstrated, a policy favouring arbitration was introduced by the legislature as early as the end of the 17th century, and was subsequently developed by English courts deciding under statutory law and in the 19th century under the common law. The analysis offers, for the first time, an account of English arbitration as a dispute resolution system which originally emerged as being part of, rather than antagonistic to, the English courts system. Understanding how arbitration developed in England is important not only for historical purposes, but also because it can provide helpful insights into current debates surrounding the legitimacy and potential reform of English arbitration law. Dry run assessments for the 2021 REF rated this article as 4*.
  • Public-Private Arbitration and the Public Interest under English Arbitration Law MODERN LAW REVIEW, 80(1) (2017) 22-56. The article explores the public interest implications which may arise in arbitrations involving public entities. It argues that, due to the lack of a developed administrative law sphere in England and the historical development of arbitration as an exclusively private mode of dispute resolution, the current legal framework of arbitration in England has developed around the private law paradigm of a commercial dispute involving private actors, which cannot adequately account and protect the public interest. To that effect, the article submits an original proposal for the amendment of English arbitration law. Dry run assessments for the 2021 REF rated this article as 4*.
  •  “Rethinking Consent in International Commercial Arbitration: A General Theory on Non-Signatories” JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE SETTLEMENT, 1(8) (2018) 1-34. The article is concerned with the role and relevance of non-signatories in international commercial arbitration. The article challenges the efficacy and coherence of the existing arbitration law in this area, and questions whether the traditional concept of consent for arbitration can be reconciled with complex commercial reality and nonsignatories today. Instead, the article submits that a general theory on non-signatories is needed, and proposes that the theoretical basis for finding that non-signatories have rights or obligations in arbitration be shifted from the concept of consent to the concept of dispute. Dry run assessments so far have rated this article 4* (the maximum REF rate).
  • “International Arbitration Scholarship and the Concept of Arbitration Law” 36 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL, Vol.36 (2013) pp. 745-787. This is the leading article of Volume 36 of one of the leading international law journals worldwide. The article is about the concept of arbitration law and its relationship with international arbitration scholarship. It draws on legal theory and jurisprudence to revisit the concept of arbitration law and advance the thesis that arbitration community has the normative potency to generate procedural practices and standards guiding arbitration practice. The article was included as part of QMUL’s 2014 REF Dry Run.
  • “Systemic Bias and the Institution of International Arbitration: A new Approach to Arbitral Decision-MakingJOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE SETTLEMENT, 4(3) 553-585 (2013). The article examines arbitral decision-making and puts forward three main propositions. First, that the legal concept of bias needs revisiting. For arbitration law and practice to effectively respond to criticism about the integrity of arbitration, the focus of our inquiry should include not only apparent bias associated with individual arbitrators, but also implicit and systemic bias. Second, the article provides a critical assessment of the existing empirical studies on arbitral decision-making. Although empirical studies have provided useful insight in arbitral judicial behaviour, they all depart from the same behavioural assumption that arbitral decision-making is driven almost exclusively by extra-legal factors, such as the personal traits, policy preferences or financial incentives of individual arbitrators. The article discusses the theoretical and methodological limitations of such a behavioural approach, and it, finally, offers an alternative model for the analysis of arbitral decision-making, which takes into account the influence of the broader institutional context within which arbitrators are embedded. Drawing on institutional theories, the article compares the procedural design of international arbitration with that of national and international judiciaries, and provides a description of the institutional structures of international arbitration and how they can affect the way that arbitrators decide. The article was included as part of QMUL’s 2014 REF Dry Run.
  • 2012 International Arbitration Survey: Current and Preferred Practices in the Arbitral Process, AMERICAN REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION (2013). This is a detailed analysis of the findings of a major empirical survey on arbitral process.
  •  “Observations on the Limits and Possibilities of Uniform Law” 64 REVUE HELLÉNIQUE DE DROIT INTERNATIONAL (2011) pp.804-839. This is a doctrinal study on the development of uniform law in the form of trade usages, general principles of law, general principles of contract, transnational law and lex mercatoria
  •  “The Relevance of the Interests of the Non-Signatories In Arbitration: Taking a Closer Look at the Elephant in the RoomPENNSYLVANIA STATE LAW REVIEW 113 (Summer 2009) pp.1165-1187. The paper examines the role and interests of non- signatories and for the first time attempts to lay down the theoretical premises of their participation in the arbitration process
  •  “The Negative Effect of Compétence-Compétence: the Verdict has to be Negative”, AUSTRIAN ARBITRATION REVIEW (2009), pp.237-258. The paper explores issues relating to the conflict of jurisdiction between national courts and international arbitral tribunals. It critically assesses the overgrowing principle of Compétence-Compétence in arbitration, arguing that it has now developed to a legal paradox, threatening to undermine the delicate jurisdictional balance between national courts and arbitral tribunals. Has been cited extensively with approval. The article was included as part of QMUL’s 2014 REF submission.
  •  “Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards: Observations on the Efficiency of the Current System and the Gradual Development of Alternative Means of Enforcement”, 19 (3-4) AMERICAN REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION (2008), pp.415-446. The paper, published in a major journal of arbitration theory, provides a qualitative analysis of the findings of empirical survey conducted by the School of International Arbitration on the Enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The paper puts forward the radical suggestion that the current legal system of enforcement of arbitral awards is waning, while commercial practice gradually develops a more effective and private means of enforcement
  •  “The Notion of Superiority of Arbitration Agreements over Jurisdiction Agreements: Time to Abandon It”, 24(4), Journal of International Arbitration, (2007) pp.341–363. The paper, included in the QMUL RAE 2008, undertakes a comparative analysis between jurisdiction and arbitration agreements. It shows that arbitration agreements are unwarrantedly afforded a preferential treatment over jurisdiction agreements, which, as the paper argues, threatens to overthrow the principle of procedural party autonomy. Cited in various sources, most notably in the leading treating of Gary Born, International Commercial Arbitration. The article was included as part of QMUL’s 2008 REF submission.
  •  “The Effect of an Arbitral Award and Third Parties in International Arbitration: Res Judicata Revisited” 16(1), American Review of International Arbitration, (2006) pp.177-209. This is one of the first comprehensive studies of the binding effect of international arbitral awards. It was included in the QMUL RAE 2008, and it has already been established as one of the main references on the topic, and is cited in several research works and reports, most notably in the Final Report of the International Law Association on “Res Judicata of Arbitral Awards”; also cited with approval by the US Court of Southern District of New York in the American Express Bank v Banco Espanol De Credito (2009); several times in the leading textbook Born, International Commercial Arbitration. The article was included as part of QMUL’s 2008 REF submission.

Chapters in Edited Collections of Essays and Books

  • Transnational Public Policy in International Arbitration”, in Thomas Schultz and Federico Ortino (eds) Oxford Handbook of International Arbitration (2020) pp.120-149. The Chapter examines the legal function of transnational public policy. It challenges the predominant view in scholarship and in arbitral case law that transnational public policy is a fluid concept that accords arbitrators wide discretion to decide on the basis of non-legal standards such as “morals,” “values” or “principles of universal justice”. By contrast, it is suggested, transnational public policy is a legal doctrine which cannot include anything other than legal norms, in the form of either legal rules or legal principles. Dry run assessments for the 2021 REF rated this output as 4*.
  • Third Party Funding in Investment Arbitration” in Chaisse, Choukroune & Jusoh (eds) Handbook of International Investment Law and Policy (Springer 2020). Modern forms of Third-party funding or Third-party financing (TPF) are no longer new to international arbitration. Recent years have seen significant increases in the number of funders, the number of funded cases, the number of law fi rms working with funders, and the number of reported cases involving issues relating to funding. As a result, third-party funding has increasingly drawn the attention of commentators and scholars, and even more recently of arbitral institutions, national regulatory authorities, and State trade negotiators. The chapter offers an overview of the existing state of regulation of Third-Party.
  • “On Arbitrability: Persisting Misconceptions and New Areas of Concern” essay in the edited collection, Arbitrability: International and Comparative Perspectives, (Kluwer 2009) pp.19-45. This is a scholar study on the material scope of arbitration, focusing on the rationale behind “inarbitrability” and the role of public policy in particular. The paper has received very positive reviews and has been a basic reference paper on the subject
  • “Law Applicable to Arbitrability: Revisiting the Revisited lex fori, essay in the edited collection, Arbitrability: International and Comparative Perspectives, (Kluwer 2009) pp.101-121. The aim of the paper is to revisit the scope of the application of lex fori to arbitrability, under new theories in arbitration. It has been cited in various sources, and it has attracted the interest of the organisers of the Verona Conference that asked for the paper to be presented there

Supervision

Current PhD students

  • Shen Enhui researching on “Investment Disputes Resolution Reform and China’s Legal Development in a Changing International Climate”
  • Lilit Nagapetyan researching on “Bribery and Corruption in International Arbitration”
  • Michaela Halpern researching on “Arbitration and Disputes in Standard-Essential Patents”

Public Engagement


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