International Investment Law 

The general question of  ‘treaties over time’ reflects the tension between the requirements of stability and change in the law of treaties. On the one hand, it is generally the purpose of the law of treaties to provide stability in the face of evolving circumstances. On the other hand, legal systems must also leave room for the consideration of subsequent developments in order to ensure meaningful respect for the agreement of parties and identification of its limits.

            George Nolte, Rapporteur of the International Law Commission on the project ‘Treaties over time’

International investment law sets out a favoured regime for the protection of the property of foreign investors. Moreover, under these agreements, investors are granted sustantive rights, which are independent and often stronger than those in domestic law.  In addition, covered investors are given the option of enforcing these rights outside of the host state’s courts through international arbitration. There are presently some 2,700 such treaties in force worldwide.

Although as the above quote indicates, investment arbitration law reflects a permanent tension between stability and flexibility. Investment arbitration law needs to adapt in order to respond to the evolving needs of both investors and international agreements partners in a dynamic global economy. Pressure for adaptation may also emerge as the main actors in the system – governments, investors and the arbitration bar – learn how investment agreements are understood and used, especially in the context of dispute resolution.

The Investment Law and Policy Research Initiative was founded at IARC to develop new bodies of relevant knowledge, provide and foster new thinking about key issues, and disseminate that knowledge and thinking in a way that is both academically rigorous and accessible, as well as relevant and timely for decision makers.


International Commercial Arbitration

Arbitration is a dispute resolution mechanism that provides diverse users worldwide with a neutral forum, a uniform system of enforcement and the procedural flexibility that allows parties to tailor-make a procedure to suit their needs in each case.

It is agreed that international commercial arbitration relies far more heavily on written advocacy than litigation does, yet very few practitioners and arbitrators have ever received any specialized training in how to research and present written arguments in this unique area of law. Newcomers to the field are particularly disadvantaged, since the legal authorities used in international commercial arbitration are unique and novices often do not know how to find certain materials, if they are even aware that these items exist.

Our research wishes to deepen the understanding of the practice of international commercial arbitration by describing how experienced international advocates and arbitrators research, present and consider legal arguments in international commercial arbitration. IARC’s initiative also distinguishes mistakes typically made by lawyers trained in the common law from those made by lawyers trained in the civil law.