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It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Professor Philippe Kahn. Professor Kahn from the University of Burgundy, Dijon, France, was instrumental for my research on the New Lex Mercatoria. At a conference in Verona, Italy in November 1999, he made me aware of the "birth" of the New Lex Mercatoria in an article by Berthold Goldman on the legal nature of the Suez Canal Company in the French newspaper "Le Monde" of 4 October 1956. I had also been in touch with him through an exchange of letters many years ago. His report which I received with one of his letters entitled "Vers la Quȇte de La Lex Mercatoria: l'apport de L'École de Dijon 1957-1964" is reprinted in its original French version and in an English translation in the 2nd edition of my book "The Creeping Codification of the New Lex Mercatoria", 2010, 357 et seq (Kluwer). We have decided to name our online bibliography after Professor Philippe Kahn.
Please read below a short obituary from Dr. Sebastien Manciaux from the University of Burgundy, Dijon which was published on Young OGEMID today.
Klaus Peter Berger
„It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the passing away of Dr Philippe Kahn.
Dr Philippe Kahn was fighting for two weeks after being infected by covid 19 and he died yesterday evening, surrounded with love by his family.
Dr Philippe Kahn was the student of Berthold Goldman who supervised his Phd thesis at the beginning of the 60' on the international sale of goods.
Dr Philippe Kahn, together with Berthold Goldman and Phillipe Fouchard (another of Berthold Goldman's distinguished students with a Phd thesis - written during the same period - on International Commercial Arbitration) founded the "School of Dijon of International Law", developing their works on Lex Mercatoria notably, and they founded the CREDIMI (Centre de Recherche sur le droit des investissements et des marchés international) after the first ever colloquium, at least in France, on ICSID in 1968, at a time this institution was hardly known.
In the 70's he welcomed in Dijon at the CREDIMI and for a couple of months the late Thomas Wälde who was himself at the beginning of his brilliant career.
Dr Philippe Kahn has been the first of CREDIMI's directors until 2000, a renowned researcher (he received the silver medal of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS, at the end of the 90's) and an intimidating teacher for graduated students (I still keep in my memory his seminar on the CISG).
Dr Philippe Kahn ran as its director the Journal de droit international (or Clunet, certainly the most known French journal on International Law) from 1985 to 2002.
Dr Philippe Kahn has been a pioneer on International Investment Law, with a first paper in this field on "Problèmes juridiques de l'investissement dans les pays de l'ancienne Afrique française" published in Clunet in 1965, and many more until he retired.
He acted as an expert or counsel in some of the first ICSID cases (notably as an expert for the Egyptian government in Spp. v. Egypt) and provided me with unknown elements on this case and on Kloeckner v. Cameroun, that have been very useful for the student I was at the beginning of my Phd thesis on ICSID (Philippe Kahn was my Phd supervisor and a very good one. I will be grateful to him for ever for his frank and good advice that helped me so much).
Finally, behind a gruff look and his long beard which gave him the appearance of a patriarch, he was deeply human and remained attentive until the end to the development of our professional careers, and we had the joy of having him with us to celebrate in December 2018 - during a two days colloquium - the 50th anniversary of CREDIMI.
My sincere condolences go to his family, to his wife and especially to his daughter Anne-Emmanuelle, a friend and a colleague, Law Professor (specialized in copyright law) in Lyon and a very good music player.“
As a result of research for the article "Force Majeure and Hardship in the Age of Corona", the two "flagship" principles force majeure and hardship were reformulated, restructured and harmonized, also to make it clearer that their prerequisites are largely identical and that they apply even if the relevant event already existed at the time of the conclusion of the contract.
The TransLex-Team and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Johnny Veeder QC on March 8, 2020. The world of international arbitration has lost one of its greatest protagonists, a true legend and a man with a prodigious knowledge of arbitration, with a fascinating and warm personality and with a fine sense of humour.
I met Johnny for the first time in the mid 1990s at my first editorial conference of Arbitration International at Schloss Cecilienhof, the venue of the Potsdam Conference of July/August 1945. Johnny was the founder, long-time editor-in-chief and co-editor of that journal. I was profoundly impressed by his warm reception. Even though he had never seen me before, Johnny welcomed me as if I had been on the editorial board for many years. As a young professor, I invited Johnny to deliver the keynote address at one of the first annual meetings of the Center for Transnational Law in the castle of Münster University in 2001. He spoke about "Confidentiality in International Commercial Arbitration". The audience, mostly young German law students and lawyers, was hanging on his every word. In the same year, Johnny published his findings on the "Soviet Eggs" arbitration of the 1920 between a Soviet supplier and a German importer in the Liber Amicorum for Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel. At the "Festschrift" dinner, my wife noted that Johnny identified himself so much with the subject of his Festschrift-contribution that he even had little eggs on his tie.
Johnny's superb sense of humor was legendary. No one will forget Johnny's promotion of the academic career of the mysterious (because fictitious!) Mr. Ylts from doctor iuris to a permanent professorship. I have told generations of students about this remarkable academic career. "Professor Dr. A. F-J. Ylts" even reviewed one of my books in a 1998 issue of Arbitration International. When I saw the review, I called Johnny and asked him "Johnny, who on earth is Professor Ylts?" Johnny responded: "Oh, you don't know him? He is a very famous arbitration specialist!", only to burst out laughing some seconds later and to unveil the secret. At the peak of his academic career, Professor Dr. Ylts published (or rather wanted to publish) his article "The' Y2K Problem' and Arbitration" in the first issue of 2000 of Arbitration International. It consisted of only one page with the remark that "[it] is regretted that for technical reasons, publication of this article was rendered impossible". The asterisk footnote explained that Ylts had "begun his arbitration career as secretary to the arbitration tribunal in the Macao Sardine Case (1986), see Sir Michael Kerr, 3 Arb Int 79". Johnny's cover-up was so realistic that even the editors of the ASA Bulletin, in their review of this issue, thought it necessary to express "th[eir] hope that this is the last what we hear from this author about this topic". In December 2017, I invited Johnny to deliver the keynote address at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Center for Transnational Law in May 2018. I suggested to him "Arbitral Humor" as a topic and told him that I once received, at a DIS conference in Hamburg on April 21, 1999, from one of my co-panelists, the late Michael Kerr (Lord Justice as he then was), a copy of his famous article on the "The Macao Sardine Case" with a personal dedication "English arbitral humour - a forensic fable". Johnny was excited ("If I can do the date, I shall come!"), but in the end he was unable to resolve a conflict in his schedule.
From the very beginning, Johnny was also an ardent supporter of our TransLex-Project. Over the years, we received many encouragements from him ("You are doing great work, do keep it going!"). Johnny also laid the groundwork for the TransLex-Archive of Historic Arbitration Awards & Historic Arbitration Materials many years ago when he sent me, much to my surprise, a copy of the German original of the famous Lena Goldfields Award of September 1930 which he had discovered during his research in Russian archives in Moscow. The Award was the subject of Johnny's famous article "The Lena Goldfields Arbitration: The Historical Roots of Three Ideas" which was published in the October 1998 issue of the International & Comparative Law Quarterly. For us, the Lena Goldfields Award provided the stimulus to open a new section in TransLex, devoted to the collection of historic arbitration and ADR documents. Many more documents were to follow from Johnny over the years, such as the Scottish Arbitration Act of 1426, which Johnny found in a library at the University of Oxford, the handwritten original of the Parthenia Award of 1883, and the Dawson’s Fields Award of 1972 by the late Sir Michael Kerr. Our detailed account of the famous Alabama Claims Arbitration Award of 1872 is in part based on Johnny's profound interest in this case which culminated in his reflections in the inaugural Charles N. Brower Lecture on International Dispute Resolution "The Historical Keystone to International Arbitration: The Party-Appointed Arbitrator—From Miami to Geneva". Johnny also brought me in touch with Derek Roebuck who kindly added a number of documents to the Archive during the past years, including England's oldest surviving award of 118 AD.
When I informed Johnny in September 2016 of a new document which I had found during family vacations in Canada, the "Great Peace of Montreal", Johnny told me about his "father’s ancestors, then based in Schenectady (in the north of New York, formerly New Holland). They were early Dutch settlers who intermarried with the Mohawks and are still called by some: 'Mohawk-Veeders'". Johnny was also very enthusiastic about his "own find this summer, the arbitration award published in 1808 concerning General van Rensselaer (a relative by marriage of Alexander Hamilton). It was a multiparty dispute between five gentlefolk regarding their respective physical assaults in the streets of Albany (New York), decided by three arbitrators. The lawyer for the General was my ancestor (Van Vechten); and one assault took place at 'Veeder’s Corner'”.
In March 2019, Johnny Veeder and I spoke at the Russian Arbitration Day in Moscow. Johnny’s presentation on the history of Russian-German trade and arbitration in the 1920s was as fascinating and inspiring as always. It led to the inclusion of further documents, which had been the subject of his conference presentation, into the TransLex-Archive.
In light of Johnny's seminal contributions to the TransLex Archive, we have decided to rename it in honour of him. Johnny’s unparalleled legacy will continue to inspire me and my team in our future work, both with respect to TransLex and the law of transnational arbitration.
Klaus Peter Berger