Investment Protection Standards as Global Constitutional Law
Forthcoming in Stephan Schill, Christian Tams and Rainer Hofmann (eds.), Investment Law and Constitutional Law (Edward Elgar).
45 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 18, 2019
This chapter considers whether the substantive standards of investment protection contained in investment treaties can be understood as an emerging form of global constitutional law. It argues that investment treaty law is an example of what the global constitutionalism literature refers to as ‘supplementary constitutionalization’, being a type of international law that addresses issues that have traditionally been mainly regulated by domestic constitutional and administrative law. The upshot is that on issues such as the balance between private property protection and the state’s right to regulate, or due process guarantees owed by the state in dealings with private parties, domestic constitutional orders are supplemented by a parallel, and not identical, international regime that applies to foreign investors. This chapter adds conceptual clarity to the existing debate concerning the ways in which investment treaty law may exhibit ‘constitution-like’ qualities (a suggestion that has been made both by staunch critics of the regime and more reform-minded commentators). In light of the conceptual framework developed, the chapter undertakes a detailed analysis of the three standards of investment treaty protection that have been the basis for prior claims that this regime displays constitutional qualities: fair and equitable treatment, the protection against expropriation, and the guarantee of national treatment. These standards, and in particular the first two, are shown to address issues that are also frequently dealt with by domestic constitutional and administrative law. The supplementary constitutionalization perspective helps us better understand the two-way national-international interaction that is central to the investment treaty regime. The perspective also foregrounds some key normative questions regarding the way in which investment treaty law can reshape domestic constitutional balances.
Keywords: global constitutionalism; supplementary constitutionalization; new constitutionalism; comparative public law and investment law; fair and equitable treatment; expropriation; national treatment
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