The Sixth Path: Reforming Investment Law from Within
25 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 4, 2014
In reaction to a summary of five different paths for investment law reform made by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in June 2013, which focused on institutional reforms of investor-State dispute settlement, the present paper sketches out a sixth path for investment law reform that is based on a system-internal reconceptualization of investor-State arbitration as a form of public law-based judicial review. It can be reformed, the paper argues, by arbitrators and parties making increasing use of comparative public law methodology that allows them to draw on the experience of more sophisticated systems of public law adjudication at the national and international level without the need for institutional reform to investor-State arbitration. First, the paper points out the benefits of the existing system of investor-State arbitration, in order to show that investor-State arbitration is an institution worth reforming from within. Second, the paper lays out the basic framework to reconceptualize investment law as a system of public law and governance and point out shortcomings in the currently prevailing approaches to understanding investor-State arbitration. Third, the paper indicates the methodological consequences of a reconceptualization of investor-State arbitration as a public law system of governance, namely the need for arbitrators to make increased use of comparative public law in resolving disputes. Finally, the paper shows how public law ideas and comparative public law methodology can be brought into investment arbitration in its present form and why arbitrators have an interest in conforming to these standards even without fundamental institutional reform.
Keywords: investment treaties, international investment law, investor-state arbitration, investment law
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