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Professor Sergei N. Lebedev 1934 - 2016

The Swedish arbitration community mourns the death of prof. Sergei N. Lebedev, who passed away on Monday 11 April 2016.

Prof. Lebedev was an acclaimed and highly respected jurist in both his native Russia and internationally. Although he successfully contributed several fields of law, in particular sale of goods and maritime law, he is probably most well-known internationally for his great contributions to the development of international arbitration.

In Russia he served for many years as President of the Maritime Arbitration Commission and was a Member of the Presidium of the International Commercial Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Internationally, Prof. Lebedevserved for many years as a Member of the Russian Delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)for adoption of model laws and other instruments relating to international arbitration. He was also a longstanding member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) and served for many years as its vice President.

Prof. Lebedev was instrumental in the creation of the USA-USSR Optional Clause Agreement 1977, which provided for Sweden as the place of arbitration in Soviet, later Russian, and US commercial disputes. In this Agreement, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) was given the role as appointing authority and administrative agency. Prof. Lebedev also played an important role in revisions of the Agreement, in particular when the Agreement was renegotiated in the beginning of the 1990’s after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Prof. Lebedev was a much sought after arbitrator, and served at such all over the world. He was frequently sitting in Stockholm arbitrations. Many Swedish lawyers have come to appreciate his sharp intellect, vast experience and creative legal thinking.

In recognition of his important contribution to international arbitration, and Sweden’s role in this context, Prof. Lebedev was appointed Commander of The Royal Order of the Polar Star by the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf. The order was presented at a ceremony at the Royal Palace on 21 October 2003. Prof. Lebedev received the Order together with Professor Tang Houzhi (China), and Judge Howard Holtzmann (USA).

 With Prof. Lebedev’s passing the international arbitration community has lost one of its giants, says Kaj Hobér, SCC Chairman. The loss is enormous. We thank him for all his contributions.

– I met Prof. Lebedev for the first time in 1983 at one of the first joint seminars between the SCC and ICAC, or VTAK as it was then called, Kaj Hobér remembers. Since then we have met regularly over the years. We have sat together as arbitrators, and I have appeared before him as counsel. And we have appeared together at many seminars and worked together in the UNCITRAL Arbitration Working Group. We became good friends. Today is a sad day.

 It was always a great pleasure to work with Prof. Lebedev, says Ulf Franke, former SCC Secretary General and Chairman, who worked closely with him on the USA-USSR Optional Clause Agreement, in the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), and in countless other arbitration contexts.  You always learned a lot. And he was always inspiring and encouraging. His death is a great loss for international arbitration.