Investment Arbitration as a Motor of General International Law?
A conference announcement
For many years, the Law School (together with the University of Frankfurt and the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg) has co-hosted an annual workshop on investment law. While much of investment law debate remains practice-driven, especially as investment arbitration has become big business for law firms, this workshop is meant to look at foundational and conceptual questions – most recently the linkages between investment law and development, and its impact on the global financial architecture.
Next year’s workshop, to be held at Frankfurt on 11-12 March 2016, continues that tradition, and yet it is special. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the dominant forum for investment arbitration, established in 1966. As ICSID reaches its half-century, the 2016 workshop asks whether and to what extent international investment law and investor-State arbitration are ‘motors of general international law‘? No doubt, investment law operates within a framework of general international law – it does not exist, to take up a phrase coined in relation to WTO law, in ‘clinical isolation‘. But how about the reverse effect? Do investment law and investment arbitration radiate into other fields? Do they shape international law more generally?
The workshop addresses this question against the backdrop of investment law’s increased relevance. Over the past decade, international investment law, once considered an exotic niche area, has moved into the international legal mainstream. The increasing numbers of investment treaties, proliferating investment disputes, and the negotiation of mega-regionals (such as TTIP and TTP) attest to this; they have raised awareness for investment law and resulted in increasing contestation. The question is whether approaches and ideas tried out and tested in investment treaty making and arbitration are being picked up by law-makers and dispute settlers in other fields. Contributions to this workshop address this question. Following a keynote by Professor Christoph Schreuer, they focus on three areas in which investment law and arbitration might be seen as a motor of legal development: the law of dispute settlement, the law of treaties, and state responsibility. As in previous years, the workshop will bring together prominent academics and practitioners and provide them with a forum for open and frank exchanges (prompted by presentations. And as in previous years, it is open to interested colleagues, students and practitioners.