dispute resolution

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Preservation of Territorial Integrity – A Substantive Rule under UNCLOS?

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes a comprehensive dispute settlement mechanism applicable to any dispute, subject to the exhaustive list of limitations and optional exceptions in Section 3, concerning the interpretation or application of UNCLOS. A complex topic that has arisen in several disputes regarding the application of UNCLOS is how to overcome jurisdictional challenges where disputes are of a mixed nature, i.e. disputes that are not limited to differences regarding provisions of UNCLOS but extend also to other rules of international law. It is axiomatic that Article 31(3)(c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties applies notwithstanding as a matter of interpretation. However, the application of Article 31(3)(c) is without prejudice to the fundamental principle consistent with which jurisdiction presupposes consent. Consent to jurisdiction does not extend to areas beyond the substantive undertakings to which the original consent is given. As the Permanent Court of International Justice eloquently observed in Phosphates in Morocco, ‘jurisdiction only exists within the limits within which it has been accepted’ (…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: Lifelong Learning

How many International Investment Disputes have there been since 1973? How many International Investment Disputes are ongoing now? We do not know. There is no authoritative count. How many treaty-based awards issued by arbitral tribunals since 2000 are not publicly available? Again, nothing authoritative can be said except that a sizeable percentage of such awards are not available.

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: Moving to the Delivery Phase

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform process underway in UNCITRAL Working Group III has entered the delivery phase. The first four reform products were delivered in July 2023, when they were adopted by the UNCITRAL Commission. The Working Group plans to deliver more reform products – an advisory centre and possibly also guidelines on dispute prevention – to…

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A Contentious Toll

Rivers have caused a decent share of international disputes in Latin America: Pulp Mills, Silala (analysed here), and the series of disputes between Costa Rica and Nicaragua involving the San Juan River. And that’s just the last 15 years. Argentina’s…

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The Caster Semenya Judgment of the ECtHR: Why It Should Not be the Final Whistle?

The legal marathon of Caster Semenya against regulations of the sport governing body (SGB) overseeing athletics has emerged as one of the most contentious legal battles, reaching the pinnacle of the European human rights framework. Semenya is a South African runner with naturally higher testosterone levels than other females. She refused to submit herself to World…

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