Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Michou, Isabelle

Isabelle Michou



Isabelle Michou’s practice focuses on international arbitration and international law.  She acts for both large corporations and States and has developed substantial expertise in a range of industries, including in the energy sector, aerospace, large-scale infrastructure projects and hotel management.  She has appeared before numerous high-profile arbitral tribunals, under the auspices of the major institutional rules including ICC, ICSID, LCIA, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, as well as ad hoc arbitrations under the UNCITRAL Rules.

Leading directories have described Isabelle as “one of the finest advocates and legal scholars working in international arbitration today”, “a skillful lawyer, attentive to her clients’ needs and a sharp-eyed analyst”, having “great knowledge and experience in arbitration.” She is consistently top-ranked “in acknowledgement of her strong expertise in arbitrations arising in Europe and Africa, as well as consistent praise from clients. She is experienced in public international law as well as international arbitration.”

Isabelle also appears in arbitration-related proceedings before the French courts, in cases involving issues of sovereign immunities, interlocutory, interim or conservatory relief, enforcement and challenges of arbitral awards.

She also sits regularly as an arbitrator herself under the ICC Rules and other rules including under the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment.

She is French and Canadian, and is qualified as a Paris Avocat and a Solicitor of England & Wales.

Isabelle has written and spoken widely on arbitration issues. She is teaching on Advocacy in International Arbitration at the Law School of Sciences Po in Paris and at the Queen Mary University of London. She is on the Executive Committee of the Swiss-based Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy (FIAA).

  Notable Representations

  • Represented a leading oil and gas companies in a PCA arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules against Ukraine for treaty claims under the UK-Ukraine BIT as a result of changes in laws on oil and gas rental fees and capital movement restrictions imposed by Ukraine, in particular following the conflict.
  • Represented a foreign investor in ICSID arbitration against Hungary over treaty claims in connection with the state’s take-over of the prepaid meal and services vouchers sector under the France-Hungary BIT.
  • Represented a North African national electricity company in a dispute with a German consortium over the construction of a photovoltaic plant as part of the national renewable energy programme (ICC arbitration, seat in Geneva, local law).
  • Represented an international management hotel chain against the owner of a hotel located in France arising out of a claim for damages for wrongful termination of a hotel international management agreement (ICC Arbitration, seat in Paris, French law).
  • Represented a major aero company in connection with a dispute over the renegotiation of a risk and revenue sharing agreement in relation to the design and production of engine components to be installed on airplanes (ICC Arbitration, seat in London, English law).
  • Represented a major client in the audit sector in relation to a dispute over issues arising out of the membership agreement and the expulsion of some member firms from the global network (ICC arbitration, English law, seat in London) and assisting client in related court proceedings before local courts in Africa.
  • Represented two Portuguese companies in defending a claim for breach of representations and warranties under a SPA initiated by French and Moroccan purchasers relating to a water utility project in Morocco (ICC arbitration, French law, seat in Paris).
  • Represented a major oil and gas company in relation to a dispute with a North-African state-owned entity over a long term gas supply agreement (ICC arbitration, seat in Paris, Tunisian law together with international law and general principles applicable in the oil and gas industry).

  Practice Areas


  • University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne)
    • (post graduate in Private International Law and International Commercial Law) 


The Bar of Paris; Solicitor of England & Wales


  • French
  • English

  Prior Associations

  • Herbert Smith Freehills: 
    • Partner, 1998-2016


  • Named in Best Lawyers in France 2018 (International Arbitration)
  • Isabelle was listed in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2017
  • Named to Chambers Europe
  • Named to Legal 500 EMEA
  • Named to Chambers Global
  • Named in Who’s Who Legal – International Arbitration

Publications and Lectures

  • Isabelle has been involved deeply in publishing and lecturing in her field. The below is a selection of her accomplishments.
  • Lecturer, Sciences Po Law School
  • Visiting Lecturer, London Queen Mary University
  • ASA Annual Conference in Geneva in February 2017 on “Shaping Arbitral Proceedings to best Examine Quantum in investor-state arbitration”  
  • GAR Live Paris in November 2016
  • IBA Annual Conference in Washington DC in September 2016 "Are the arbitrators under attack?"
  • The Swedish Arbitration Association, Swedish Arbitration Days inSeptember 2016, on "Bringing extra-contractual claims in arbitration"
  • Colloquium: "How do arbitrators decide ?" in Paris in May 2016, hosted by NYU and Sciences Po Law School
  • Paris Café des Arbitres: "Investment arbitration in the renewable energy sector", France, November 2015
  • "La compétence du juge judiciaire en matière d'exequatur des sentences arbitrales administratives étrangères", note sous Cass. 1st civ., 8 July 2015, Ryanair, Petites Affiches, 6 November 2015, n°222
  • GAR Live Paris Conference on the extension of the arbitration clause on non-signatories, Paris, France, November 2015 
  • IBA Annual Meeting on "Towards more effective fact-finding in arbitration", Vienna, Austria, October 2015 
  • Africa Law Business, three recent interviews published online
  • Co-Chairing Conference of the Arbitration Committee of the Paris Bar on "The UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Investors-States arbitration", Paris, France, June 2015
  • "Parallel proceedings in international arbitration" at the 30TH ICC SIA QMC Joint Symposium of Arbitrators, Paris, France, March 2015
  • Co-Chairing Conference of the Arbitration Committee of the Paris Bar on "Droit de l’arbitrage commercial international : regards croisés (français et américain) sur les travaux du Restatement of the Law », Paris, France, March 2015
  • Co-Chairing Conference of the Arbitration Committee of the Paris Bar on the "IBA Guidelines of 25 May 2013 on Party representation in international arbitration", Paris, France, January 2014
  • Comité Français d'Arbitrage (CFA) and Club Español del Arbitrage (CEA) on Issues of Arbitrability under French law and Spanish law, Paris, France, November 2013
  • ICC Canada International Arbitration Conference on "A view 'Inside the Tribunal'", Toronto, Canada, October 2013
  • Co-chairing a conference on the "Swiss Rules", International Arbitration Committee of the Paris Bar, Paris, France, July 2013
  • "Le financement des activités illicites," in L'argent dans l'arbitrage 63 (W. Ben Hamida, T. Clay eds., Lextenso, 2013)
  • ICC France Conference on Enforcement of Arbitral Awards and more specifically "Comment les entreprises peuvent-elles surmonter les obstacles ?", Paris, France, November 2012
  • ICC Canada Conference on "Case Management in Arbitration: Practical Tips and Cautionary Tales", Montreal, Canada, October 2012
  • Contributor, "What's New in European Arbitration?," Dispute Res. J. (2011-2014)
  • ICDR/Sciences Po Conference on "The Challenge of Proactivity: A Comparative Discussion of Techniques For Enhancing Procedural Efficiency In International Arbitration", Paris, France, June 2012
  • IV Conferencia LatinoAmericana de Arbitraje, "Third Party Funding in International Arbitration: What are the Current Issues?", Medellín, Colombia, June 2012
  • "Choice of institution in investment arbitration" at the ICC UK Conference on "Investment Treaty Arbitration: a 'BIT' of a problem?" London, UK, March 2012
  • Note on the Dallah case following CA Paris, 17 Feb. 2011, Governement du Pakistan, min. des Affaires religieuses v. Sté Dallah Real Estate and Tourism Holding Company, 2011(2) JDI 395
  • "Compensation of the Moral Injury in Investor-State Arbitration / L'indemnisation du préjudice moral dans l'arbitrage entre investisseurs et états," 2011(1) Int'l. Bus. L.J. 41 / Rev. dr. aff. int.
  • "Articulation, en pratique, entre la clause de droit applicable et la clause relative à la compétence internationale (clause attributive de juridiction ou clause compromissoire)," in Le Règlement Communautaire Rome I et le Choix de Loi dans les Contrats Internationaux (Litec, 2011) (S. Corneloup and N. Joubert, eds.)
  • "An Inside Perspective: News and Updates from the ICC and IBA", ICC/IBA Roundtable, Vancouver, Canada, October 2010
  • "All or Nothing - A Debate on the Production of Documents", YAS-ICDR Young & International, Stockholm, Sweden, September 2010