About

Mercédeh sits as arbitrator in international commercial arbitration proceedings. She also represents individuals, corporate entities and governments before arbitral tribunals in both commercial and investment arbitration proceedings (inter alia proceedings conducted under the auspices of ICSID, of the ICC and of the PCA, as well as ad hoc proceedings).

In addition, she regularly represents clients before the Swiss Supreme Court in proceedings related to challenges of international arbitral awards.

She has acted as counsel in the context of commercial disputes related, inter alia, to international engineering and construction contracts, sales contracts, distribution agreements and share purchase agreements. With respect to investment disputes, she has extensive experience in the mining, telecommunications and energy sectors.

In parallel to her activity in international arbitration, Mercédeh advises clients and serves as legal expert on issues pertaining to economic sanctions, as well as questions at the crossroads of public and private international law.

Before founding AZHA, Mercédeh practiced in leading law firms in Geneva and in Paris.

Mercédeh has published extensively on the topic of economic sanctions and is, in particular, the author of the award-winning treatise Trade Sanctions and International Sales – An Inquiry into International Arbitration and Commercial Litigation. She also has numerous publications in the areas of international arbitration, international trade, contracts and mediation.

Mercédeh currently teaches Economic Sanctions and International Arbitration at Sciences Po Law School, in the Master in Economic Law program – Global Governance Studies. In the past, she has taught at the European Law Students’ Association’s Summer Law School on Arbitration and given guest lectures at the University of Geneva Law School, at Fordham University School of Law and at Columbia Law School. Mercédeh is also regularly invited to speak at conferences.

Mercédeh holds a PhD (summa cum laude) from the University of Geneva, an LL.M. (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar) from Columbia Law School and a lic. iur. from the University of Geneva.


Experience (non-exhaustive list)

  • Sole arbitrator in several proceedings governed by the ICC Arbitration Rules
  • Arbitrator (including sole arbitrator) in several proceedings governed by the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration
  • Counsel in ICC arbitration proceedings related to a dispute in the automotive sector
  • Counsel in ad hoc arbitration proceedings related to a dispute involving sanctions against Russia
  • Counsel in ad hoc arbitration proceedings related to a dispute in the banking sector
  • Counsel for a European state in proceedings before the Swiss Federal Tribunal, pertaining to the challenge of an arbitral award in ad hoc arbitration proceedings
  • Counsel for a soccer player in proceedings before the Swiss Federal Tribunal, pertaining to the challenge of an award rendered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • Counsel in investment arbitration proceedings against a West Asian state
  • Counsel for a European investor against a Central Asian state in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings related to an investment dispute in the mining sector
  • Counsel for North American investors against an Eastern European state in ICSID arbitration proceedings related to an investment dispute in the mining sector
  • Counsel for a group of individuals against a group of East Asian state-owned entities in PCA arbitration proceedings related to an investment dispute
  • Counsel for a Western Asian entity against a Central Asian state in ICSID proceedings related to a dispute in the oil and gas sector
  • Legal expert on economic sanctions in commercial arbitration proceedings
  • Pre-litigation advice to individuals and corporate entities on transactions affected by economic sanctions
  • Legal advice to a multinational corporation on US, EU and Swiss sanctions against Russia
  • Legal advice to an East Asian company on the status of US, EU and Swiss sanctions against Iran and the impact of such sanctions on the company’s contractual dealings
  • Legal advice to an investment fund in relation to court proceedings in Switzerland regarding the sale of art, negotiation and drafting of a settlement agreement on behalf of the fund

Bar Admission

Geneva, Switzerland, 2004


Education

  • PhD (summa cum laude), University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, 2013
  • LL.M. (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), Columbia Law School, New York, NY, 2005
  • Lic. iur., University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, 2001

Languages

  • French
  • English
  • Persian

Memberships

  • International Law Association, since 2014
  • Association suisse de l’arbitrage (ASA), Switzerland, since 2005
  • Ordre des avocats de Genève (ODA), Geneva, Switzerland, since 2002

Teaching Experience

  • Sciences Po Law School, Master in Economic Law program – Global Governance Studies, Fall 2020, ⁣‌lecturer, Economic Sanctions and International Arbitration
  • The European Law Students’ Association, Geneva, Switzerland, August 2017, lecturer, International Commercial Arbitration
  • University of Geneva Faculty of Law, Geneva, Switzerland, Fall 2013/Fall 2014, guest lecturer, Trade Sanctions and International Sales
  • Fordham University School of Law, New York, NY, USA, October 2010, guest lecturer, Authority of Arbitral Tribunals to Assess the Legitimacy of Economic Sanctions
  • European Legal Studies Center, Columbia Law School, New York, NY, USA, October 2009, guest lecturer, Authority of Arbitral Tribunals and Domestic Courts to Give Effect to Trade Sanctions and Circumstances in Which Such Measures May Be Taken into Account
  • Columbia Law School, New York, NY, USA, April 2009, guest lecturer, Legal Effects of Economic Sanctions on International Contracts

Recent Speaking Engagements (non-exhaustive list)

  • Colloquium on Economic Sanctions co-hosted by AZHA Avocats and Akrivis Law Group PLLC, Geneva, Switzerland, January 2020, Economic Sanctions and Contractual Disputes
  • 3rd Annual GAR Live Event, Vienna, Austria, October 2019, How to Deal with Economic Sanctions
  • 38th ICC Institute Annual Conference on Hardship and Force Majeure in International Commercial Contracts, Paris, France, November 2018, Economic Sanctions, Force Majeure and Hardship
  • Omnia Strategy LLP, London, UK, September 2018, Economic Sanctions and Contractual Disputes
  • 7th Annual GAR Live Event, London, UK, May 2017, Sanctions – A Triangular Look
  • International Law Association, Bonn, Germany, March 2016, Trade Sanctions and International Arbitration
  • Academy of European Law, Trier, Germany, September 2015, Sanctions at the Crossroads of Public and Private International Law
  • Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, Attorneys-at-Law, Düsseldorf, Germany, August 2015, Economic Sanctions and Commercial Transactions
  • London Center of International Law Practice, London, UK, March 2015, Economic Sanctions, International Arbitration and Commercial Disputes
  • Russian Arbitration Association, Moscow, Russia, October 2014, Sanctions and Arbitration

Awards, Distinctions and Grants

  • Professor Walther Hug Prize, 2015
  • Mention très bien (summa cum laude), Doctorat en droit, University of Geneva Faculty of Law, 2013
  • Research grant, Fondation Boninchi, 2009-2010
  • Research grant, Fondation Schmidheiny, 2008-2009
  • Research grant, Société académique de Genève, 2008
  • Research grant, Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique, 2007-2008
  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Columbia Law School, 2005
  • Werner Melis Award, Eighth Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, 2001