Rio Tinto Alcan gift establishes chair in international arbitration law

L. Yves Fortier
L. Yves Fortier

By Laurel Baker

“Needless to say, I am very humbled by this announcement. This is a very proud moment for me,” said McGill alumnus and celebrated lawyer L. Yves Fortier, reacting to news of an important dontation that will allow the Faculty of Law to expand its scholarship in the growing field of international arbitration.

“I am delighted that international arbitration, which has become an increasingly popular way of resolving international disputes, will now be an essential part of the curriculum of future McGill Law students.”

As the second year of Campaign McGill begins, a $3-million gift from international aluminium leader Rio Tinto Alcan’s charitable fund will allow the Faculty of Law to establish the L. Yves Fortier Chair in International Arbitration and International Commercial Law.

The chair will honour Fortier, who graduated from McGill’s Faculty of Law in 1958, for his leadership in the practice of law and at the international bar in the field of arbitration. One of the three Chairs of Campaign McGill, Fortier is a former chairman of the Alcan Board of Directors and currently serves as a non-executive director of Rio Tinto. A Rhodes Scholar and former president of the Canadian Bar Association, Fortier is the longstanding chairman of Ogilvy Renault, one of Canada’s best known law firms. He is also one of the world’s foremost arbitrators, and has served as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, President of the UN Security Council and President of the London Court of International Arbitration.

“Yves Fortier, a member of the fabled class of 1958 in the Faculty of Law, stands as one of the finest models for our students in the modern history of the faculty,” said Faculty of Law Dean Nicholas Kasirer. “Mr. Fortier has established one of the most imaginative and forward-looking brands of international legal practice in this country. I salute his colleagues at Rio Tinto Alcan for creating the Yves Fortier Chair, which signals to the world that Canada, Quebec, Montreal and McGill’s Faculty of Law represent the future of this emerging field of law.”

The scholar appointed to the L. Yves Fortier Chair will take up a leadership role in the bilingual, trans-systemic program of legal education at McGill’s Faculty of Law. He or she will lead advances in the field of international arbitration, and conduct research to help shape the future of both the practice

and understanding of international law.

“We are extremely happy to see Rio Tinto Alcan recognize McGill’s ideal position to train a new generation of lawyers in this crucial field,” said McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. “International arbitration and commercial law are critically important to Canada’s economic

future. Mr. Fortier is among the University’s most distinguished law graduates, and it is our privilege to have him as one of our three Co-Chairs for Campaign McGill.”