Joint Interpretation

An Analysis on Current Praxis, Legal Nature, Strategies for Execution

Daiana Miu, Aleksandra Vonica, Ekaterina Mikahail; IARC – University of Bucharest and Saint Petersburg State University

Executive Summary

A joint interpretation is an agreement between State parties to an international investment agreement (“IIA”) on a common interpretation of a provision in the IIA. Joint interpretations can be seen as a way for States to retain control over the interpretation of IIAs, as and when disputes arise under these IIAs. This memorandum addresses three main areas concerning joint interpretation in IIAs: (1) how it has been used in existing treaties; (2) its legal effect on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals; and (3) how it can be implemented in future treaties. For the purposes of legal analysis, we classify IIAs into three main categories: (1) where treaties are silent on joint interpretations; (2A) where treaties state that joint interpretations are expressly binding on ISDS tribunals; and (2B) where treaties provide for joint interpretation but are silent as to its legal effect.