Corporations as Subjects of International Law: The Question Revisited in Light of Recent Developments in International Investment Law (L'entreprise, sujet de droit international, Retour sur la question a la lumiere des developpements recents du droit international des investissements)
Revue Générale de Droit International Public, Vol. 108, No. 1, pp. 103-122, 2004
13 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2008
Date Written: October, 15 2008
The question of the international legal personality of transnational corporations arises at a time when they are the main operators of international trade and have become important actors in international relations. The doctrine, relying on ideological and political considerations rather than strict legal ones, has been divided on the issue whether corporations should be recognised an international legal personality. Our position is that a corporation may qualify as subject of international law to the extent that it holds rights and obligations and is given the possibility to commence a direct claim against a State before a tribunal of an international nature. This is, for instance, the situation prevailing in the context of some dispute settlement mechanisms in international investment law, which will be the object of our analysis. However, even in the field of international investment law, a corporation remains a minor subject of law with an international legal personality that is limited, derived, relative and functional.
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Keywords: legal personality, international investment law, transnational corporations, multinationals
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