International Investment Law

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New Options for Investor Accountability in ISDS

ISDS emerged in the twentieth century to empower foreign investors to assert legal claims against host states without the intervention of their home state. But this understanding of international investment law (IIL) – investor rights and host state duties – is now a relic of the past. Yet because of their current asymmetrical nature, ISDS and IIL do not effectively regulate investors’ conduct. Various states have made it clear that that asymmetry has to change. One prominent manifestation of this movement for change is the inclusion of investor obligations in (a few) investment treaties. In the quest for investor accountability, this is clearly an important step, but without procedural tools to enforce these obligations, they will only serve as decorative features in investment treaties. The incumbent challenge for states is to create the requisite procedural tools. There has never been a more opportune to tackle this challenge: as we speak, the reform process for ISDS is ongoing at UNCITRAL Working Group III. To this end, this blog post examines some of the more innovative…

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