International Public Contracts: Applicable Law and Dispute Resolution

58 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2015

Date Written: November 8, 2013


This paper addresses the legal regime governing contracts concluded by States or state entities with private partners. This is an old question, which has attracted a lot of attention starting in the 1970's. The paper attempts to take stock of the evolution since the first wave of (massive) scholarship on this issue. To that end, the paper first focuses on the determination of the law applicable to such contracts (section 1). Thereafter the focus is on the various stabilization mechanisms used in practice (section 2). This includes both direct stabilization mechanisms and dispute resolution provisions, as these two elements are central to the legal regime of public international contracts. An attempt is made to present both the general principles and the current practice of States – even though it is difficult to draw general lessons as contracts concluded by states, which come in various formats and shapes, are not easily accessible.

Keywords: contracts, international public contracts, Texaco Overseas, British Petroleum, arbitration, applicable law, stabilisation, investment agreements, loan, International Law Institute

JEL Classification: F34, H57, K33

Suggested Citation

Wautelet, Patrick R., International Public Contracts: Applicable Law and Dispute Resolution (November 8, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Patrick R. Wautelet (Contact Author)

University of Liege ( email )

B-4000 Liege

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