Foreign investments today enjoy international legal protection through a global network of more than 3,000 investment treaties. Many of these treaties offer recourse to international arbitration to investors whose investments have been subject to interference in the state hosting the investment. Public interest in investment treaty arbitration is growing and both developed and developing countries have begun to revisit their treaties. Investment treaty arbitrations often focus on the interface between domestic and international law, and turn on how to balance the rights of private investors against the wider public interest.
Over the last two decades, international investment law has become one of the most dynamic areas of international law. Public attention has focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, NAFTA, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. In the wake of a rapid increase in the number of investment disputes, including those arising out of Argentina’s 2001 financial crisis, Germany’s exit from nuclear power, the expropriation of Yukos shareholders and Australia’s plain tobacco packaging legislation, awareness of investment treaties and their robust investor-state dispute resolution mechanism, has grown. The legitimacy and fairness of decision-making by investment tribunals have come under scrutiny.
This seminar addresses the substantive and procedural legal issues arising in investment law and arbitration today, principally – but not exclusively – from the perspective of practice. We will consider the ambit and substance of the protections afforded to foreign investors through treaties, including investment chapters of free trade agreements, while focussing on the specific legal and practical issues that can arise for claimant investors, respondent states, arbitrators and third parties during the course of a case. We will learn about the institutions and rules that govern investor state arbitration, we will consider the theoretical and policy background that underpins the governing framework, and we will scrutinize the relationship between investment treaty law and other areas of international law, public law, and human rights law