The School of Law at SOAS University of London is unique among Law Schools in London. We have a distinct ‘Southern’ perspective in our course content, and we take a socio-legal dimension in our engagement with the law and how we teach law to our students.  We bring these to our teaching on the international…

Geography, culture, politics, economic conditions, and population demographics, in my view, account for very different narratives and reactions to the teaching of international investment arbitration.  In the last 13 years, I have had the distinct experience of in-person and/or virtual teaching of a course and/or guest lecturing international investment arbitration in a wide range of…

The International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL) held its XXI General Congress in October 2022. The topic of one of the sessions was Impartiality and Independence of International Adjudicators. The purpose of the work was to assess criteria, mechanisms and remedies applied in the various legal systems (including international courts and arbitration) to ensure the…

When it comes to consent to the jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals, its understanding and interpretation raise a fundamental question – do we really know what it means? In this blog post, it will be demonstrated that there are a number of uncertainties around the notion of consent in investment arbitration. The theoretical underpinnings…

A North American energy trade war may be on the horizon. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is backstepping the opening of Mexican energy markets by halting the issuance of permits, providing competitive advantages to state-owned enterprises, and attacking independent regulators. The re-centralization of the energy sector is being done in the name of Mexico’s…

States have spent the last decade and a half rebalancing the design of their international investment agreements (IIAs). In their new-generation IIAs, states have clarified core protective standards, omitted controversial clauses, and inserted new carve-outs and general exceptions. These reformed treaties, it was hoped, would provide investment tribunals with “new analytical devices for adjudicating disputes…

For years, Australia and the U.K. have been the pioneering jurisdictions regarding ownership of law firms. Now, there’s a new kid on the block.  Recent developments in a few U.S. states, predominantly Arizona, and a new approach by the American Bar Association (ABA) signal a broad reexamination of the long-entrenched prohibition on non-lawyer participation (ownership…

The 18th Annual ITA-ASIL Conference, hosted virtually for a half-day on March 23, 2021, discussed ongoing efforts at ICSID and UNCITRAL Working Group III to reform investment arbitration. José Alvarez (New York University School of Law) kicked off the conference by throwing down the gauntlet: procedural reform does not go far enough. In the long…

The Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) hosted an oral history session with The Hon. Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, interviewed by Prof. Victoria Shannon Sahani. The session, held on March 22, 2021, was part of the ITA Academic Council’s ongoing Preserving Perspectives project which aims to record the evolution of modern international arbitration in the words of…

On April 19, 2021, the Secretariats of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) released the second draft of the Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in International Investment Disputes, a key feature of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) reform process which is presently under…

The ITA (Institute for Transnational Arbitration) – ALARB (Latin American Society of Arbitration) Americas Workshop took place virtually on 2-4 December 2020. The conference focused on the role of arbitrators, their liabilities, challenges, and the need for increased diversity efforts. The conference was co-chaired by Julie Bédard (Skadden, New York), and Maria Inés Corrá (Bomchil, Buenos…

The Institute for Transnational Arbitration (“ITA”) hosted a four-part webinar discussing the Draft Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in Investor-State Dispute Settlement, between 21-25 September 2020. Each part addressed specific practical considerations raised by the matters addressed in the Draft Code of Conduct: issue conflict, double hatting, repeat appointments, and implementation and enforcement of the…

Introducing a regulation of early determination in the context of expedited proceedings, highlights a series conflicting interests. Therefore, the UNCITRAL Working Group II on dispute resolution has not yet taken a final position on whether such a regulation should be inserted in the context of expedited arbitration, or whether it should rather be considered as…

The UNCITRAL Working Group II (“WG II”) will continue its work on drafting expedited arbitration provisions (EAPs) at its next session in Vienna on September 21 – 25, 2020. This post briefly considers some of the key points that will be addressed at the session relating to the form and scope of the EAPs. This…

The years since 2017 have witnessed a global trend of tightening foreign direct investment (FDI) screening processes. Major economies, including the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have moved towards stricter FDI rules. In all of these cases, security concerns and, in particular, the need to protect cutting-edge technologies against…

In normal times, the 32nd Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting would have been an in-person summer event held in Austin, Texas. In this brave new world, the Workshop was completely reimagined to be held virtually via Zoom on 17 – 19 June 2020. Introduced by Joseph E. Neuhaus (ITA Chair, Sullivan & Cromwell), and…

In addition to the serious implications for people’s health and public healthcare services, the COVID-19 pandemic also imposes challenges for the administration of justice.   Increasing Demand for Amicable Methods of Dispute Resolution The current crisis creates a need for business and its legal representatives to consider carefully appropriate and alternative options for the efficient,…

On May 1, 2020, the Secretariats of ICSID and UNCITRAL released the first draft of the Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). I had the privilege of working extensively on the drafting of the Code as a Scholar in Residence at ICSID, and I think this is an important development in…

As UNCITRAL Working Group III is proceeding to address concrete proposals to reform treaty-based investor-state arbitration, the future of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is at a historic juncture. Reform proposals include both incremental changes to investor-state arbitration and proposals for further institutionalization, such as the call of the European Union (EU) to establish a Multilateral…

The ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration was held in Singapore in September, examining the future of international energy disputes in the region. There was a focus on the client perspective, with insights from a variety of speakers. The range of participants and speakers was impressive, with practitioners, in-house counsel and institution representatives covering…

For all the talk about third party funding, little has been said about the buying and selling of claims outright – what I call “claims trading”. A forthcoming article is the first to survey all the known instances of claims trading in international investment arbitration. It reviews more than forty decisions in which tribunals or…

The line between third-party funders and law firms is blurring. Originally, there were only two traditional types of third-party funding arrangements. In the first type, the third-party funder makes an agreement to finance the legal expenses of the claimant or respondent in a case in exchange for a portion of the claimant’s awarded amount, if…

Third-party funding is a controversial, dynamic, and evolving phenomenon in international arbitration. Proponents and opponents of third-party funding debate whether the practice will make a positive or negative impact on the worldwide system of dispute resolution. Both sides of the debate make predictions regarding the effect of third-party funders through the cases that they finance….