International Investment Law

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People from La Oroya vs Peru, Inter-American Court of Human Rights: How Effective is International Law to Protect the Environment in Extractive Contexts?

On March 22nd, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled a landmark decision on the protection of the right to a healthy environment in the context of mining activities. The Court declared the international responsibility of the Peruvian State for breaching the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, specifically for violations of the right to a healthy environment (Article 26), the right to life (Article 4.1.), the right to personal integrity (Article 5), the rights of children (Article 19), and others. By evaluating environmental and medical evidence from decades ago to the present, the Court found that there is no doubt about the presence of high levels of environmental contamination in La Oroya, including lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and other metals in air, soil and water. Importantly, it indicated that the principal cause was the activity of the La Oroya Metallurgical Center operating from 1922 (par. 263). Given the difficulty of establishing scientific causality, the Court also noted that it is not necessary to demonstrate that health diseases are directly caused…

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How a documentary film can help UNCITRAL Working Group III think through ISDS reform

As states explore options to reform investment treaties and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), they can draw on a growing body of grounded perspectives about how the system works in practice and how it is experienced by those involved in or affected by investment disputes. The Tribunal, a documentary film directed by Malcolm Rogge in collaboration…

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The Mandate Conundrum: Reflections on the 46th Session of the UNCITRAL Working Group III on ISDS Reform

The UNCITRAL Working Group III convened in Vienna between 9 and 13 October 2023 for its 46th session to discuss the establishment of an advisory centre on international investment law, which would be tasked to provide legal and technical assistance in connection with investor-State disputes. In addition, it would tackle a number of…

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Shoehorning Substance into a Procedural Mandate? The Right to Regulate and UNCITRAL Working Group III

This post addresses Draft Provision 12, on ‘Right to Regulate’, in the recent ‘Draft Provisions on Procedural and Cross-Cutting Issues’ that were published by the UNCITRAL Secretariat in late July and will be discussed at UNCITRAL Working Group III’s next session in October 2023 (A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.229 [11]). The Draft Provisions have been ‘prepared…

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Dual Nationals in Investment Treaty Arbitration: An Emerging Field of Inconsistent Decisions

Introduction Nationality is a crucial marker for protection in international investment law. Only investors that qualify as nationals of a contracting party can access investment treaties. Most investment treaties, however, are premised on broad provisions defining eligible nationals. With respect to individuals, these instruments typically define protected investors as physical persons who hold the nationality…

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