J Brian Casey
Bay Street Chambers
333 Bay Street, Suite 900
M5H 2R2, Toronto, Canada
Peers and clients say:
“Mr Casey is a leading authority on arbitration law in Canada and is a highly regarded arbitrator”
“He is an absolute trailblazer in arbitration”
“He is a knowledgeable and resourceful practitioner”
B.Eng (Electrical); LL.B.; LL.M. (international business law).Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Former international partner at Baker McKenzie and chair of the North American Disputes Group. Founder of Bay Street Chambers. Independent arbitrator since 2012. Chair of the ICDR Canada Advisory Committee. Member of the AAA Advisory Council. Adjunct professor at the University of Toronto.
What attracted you to pursue a career in international arbitration?
The exposure to the wider world, beyond the local courts was the main attraction, along with the chance to practice advocacy at an international level.
What recent challenges have parties faced over the past year, and how are you adapting your practice accordingly?
The biggest challenge obviously was the need to keep the system working in the face of covid-19. Many lawyers who are excellent advocates had initial difficulty switching to the electronic world, but in time we all adapted. My practice as an arbitrator became completely paperless and online.
Some practitioners report that, post pandemic, arbitration costs are discouraging for clients looking to pursue this method of dispute resolution. To what extent have you noticed this and is the market adapting to meet changing cost pressures?
I am not convinced that arbitration costs are greater than litigation costs, however I believe the need to keep costs under control will cause all users to continue holding virtual conferences and hearings where appropriate. We will no longer be flying somewhere to hold a procedural meeting.
Some Canadian provinces have passed modern arbitration legislation for domestic disputes. How have you found these changes have affected your practice?
Most provinces have used the Model Law as a template for domestic legislation and so there is, with some exceptions, a uniformity of arbitration practice in Canada regardless of whether the matter is domestic or international.
How have your positions in various groups such as the North American Disputes Group and fellowship at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators affected your career?
Without my time at Baker McKenzie, both with the disputes group and the international arbitration group, I simply would not have the practice that I have. The personal exposure that comes from being with an international firm, and attending in-person conferences such as those run by the Chartered Institute is invaluable.
What challenges did you face when you founded Bay Street Chambers?
The biggest challenge was having to do everything myself, without the back up and support that you have at a large law firm. I also worried about whether the phone would ever ring.
With over 40 years in a distinguished career, what would you like to achieve that you haven’t done so already?
I owe so much to the marvelous mentors I have had over the years that I am looking for opportunities now to “pay it forward” and help the next generation where I can.
How can the international arbitration community improve diversity?
The solution is in the diversity we see in our younger practitioners. I believe the use of teleconferencing has allowed them the opportunity to participate in arbitral proceedings and attend conferences virtually. This should continue. Also, the use of such programs as “next generation” arbitrator rosters needs to be expanded.