In Memoriam: Visiting Professor Rudolf Dolzer - A Pioneer of International Investment Law & Arbitrator


Rudoph Dolzer

Rudolf Dolzer

Rudolf Dolzer, one of Miami Law’s renowned visiting professors in the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program, died April 3 at the age of 76 in his native Heidelberg, Germany, according to the Global Arbitration Review.

“He was an expansive legal thinker, unshackled by orthodoxy, wise, humble and kind,” said Carolyn Lamm (UM J.D. ’73), partner and litigator in White & Case’s Washington D.C. office, who serves as distinguished faculty chair of Miami Law’s International Arbitration LL.M. program. “Professor Jan Paulsson and I recruited him to come teach at the University of Miami given his broad knowledge and experience as a professor in international law, a government official, an expert witness and advocate. He came to love Miami and the students there and they enjoyed him. He will be sorely missed.”

The professor emeritus at the University of Bonn was a pioneer of international investment law, arbitrator and published extensively on issues of international investment law, including bilateral investment treaties and principles of international investment law.

“This is a loss for Miami Law and the world of investment disputes,” says Jonathan C. Hamilton, partner in White & Case’s Washington D.C. office, who serves as distinguished faculty chair of Miami Law’s International Arbitration Institute. “Professor Dolzer’s book on bilateral investment treaties came out a quarter of a century ago, and became a critical resource for lawyers embarking on a new wave of investment arbitration.”

In 2015, The Hague Academy of International Law published his lectures on international cooperation in energy affairs. He continued to act as expert, counsel, and arbitrator in numerous arbitration proceedings, and was working on a monograph on legal issues of the international oil and gas business at the time of his death.

From 1992 to 1996, Dolzer was director general of the Office of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and he has served on the three Commissions of the German Parliament.

At Miami Law, the Dolzer taught two courses in the International Arbitration LL.M. program, a course on “The International Law of Treaties” in the Fall semester, and a course on “International Investment Agreements” in the Spring. In Fall 2019, he also delivered the keynote lecture on “Fair and Equitable Treatment: Past, Present and Future” for the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) International Arbitration Moot competition, hosted by Miami Law.

“We are deeply saddened by Professor Dolzer’s passing. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor to our students and a pleasure to work with. We always looked forward to his bi-annual visits to our campus. He will be greatly missed,” says Sandra Friedrich, Lecturer in Law and Director of Miami Law’s International Arbitration Institute and White & Case LL.M. Program. “Our students admired him,” adds Arlene Buchanan, Senior Program Coordinator at Miami Law. “We are honored that Prof. Dolzer was a part of our International Arbitration LL.M. program and will miss him and his dry humor.”

Many students and graduates of Miami Law’s International Arbitration LL.M. were deeply saddened by the news of Professor Dolzer’s passing. “It was with great sadness that I heard of Professor Dolzer’s demise,” said Indian-born Arundathi Venkataraman, an Int’l Arbitration LL.M. ’19 graduate and Young ICCA Scholar, and legal intern at Three Crowns in London. “Attending his class was one of the highlights of my time at Miami Law. It did not escape me that I was in the company of a legend in international dispute resolution. What surprised me, however, was his humility and humor. His stories of how he stumbled (quite literally) on the law and international investment are how I remember him best. I continue to be inspired by him and his works.”

According to GAR, Dolzer’s recent caseload as an arbitrator included the first investor-state case against Bahrain, brought by two Iranian banks under UNCITRAL rules. The case is still pending.

“I am deeply sadden by the loss of Professor Dolzer and I know that such feeling is shared among the hundreds of student who had the precious opportunity to cross paths with him,” said Mariafiore Minuissi, an Italian Int’l Arbitration LL.M. ’19 graduate and Vis Moot Scholar, who is an associate at Chiomenti, in Milan, Italy. “I owe him what I learned about investment law, but most of all I owe him my constant curiosity and passion for this subject of the law. I will always remember his effective way of teaching, his clear explanations, and the passion he put in his job. He will be greatly missed, but his immense contribution to the international investment law will keep him alive forever.”

Digvijay Khapre, a recent graduate of the International Arbitration LL.M. from India, remembers “Professor Dolzer as a lawyer par excellence, a teacher with a gift and above all a man with a kind heart.” “I am very fortunate to have had an opportunity to meet and learn from Professor Dolzer,” adds Russian lawyer Daria Kuznetsova, current student in the International Arbitration LL.M. and White & Case Scholar. “He always was very engaged with the students. He shared with us a detailed story of his life and his experience, even outside of the legal career. This is quite uncommon for the professors, but this made him ‘reachable’ to the students. He was open to discuss whatever question we had whether it related to a ‘hot’ arbitration issue or our personal concerns. He knew how to motivate and inspire the students! For almost every case we discussed in class, he had an insight story. Professor Dolzer will always be remembered and missed.”