Louise Otis is an active judge, arbitrator and mediator who specializes in administrative and commercial law. She is also an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University and a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM).
She began her career as a lawyer in 1975, and practiced law until her appointment to the bench of the Quebec Superior Court in 1990. Three years later she was named to the bench of the Quebec Court of Appeal, one of the two largest appellate courts in Canada, where she served until 2009. During her time on the bench, she took part in over 3000 judgments, covering civil, commercial, administrative and criminal cases.
But she also foresaw the value of mediation in settling disputes. In response, in 1997 she instituted one of the world’s first integrated judicial mediation programs, which has since been adopted by all courts and tribunals in Quebec and blended into the traditional justice system. In 2004, she helped instigate a facilitator program for criminal cases, which has also been launched in Quebec.
Since 1997, Louise Otis has conducted over 700 mediation sessions in civil and commercial matters and since 2009, she has presided over 50 civil and commercial law arbitrations. Never one to rest on her laurels, Louise Otis founded the Canadian Conference for Judicial Mediation (CCMJ) in 2009, and the following year, she co-founded the International Conference on Mediation for Justice (ICMJ).
Louise Otis has also helped institute judicial reforms in various countries and international organizations. Her international commitments include the presidency of the Administrative Tribunal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), presidency of the administrative tribunal of the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF), and deputy judge of the administrative tribunal of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). In 2013, Louise Otis was appointed by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (UN) as an expert to review the UN Whistleblowing and Protection against Retaliation Policy.
She has received many awards in recognition of her legal initiatives, including most recently Quebec’s Prix de la Justice award (2016), appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada (2015), and the David Plant Award for Excellence in International Dispute Resolution from the International Academy of Mediators (2015).