Empirically Evaluating Claims About Investment Treaty Arbitration

88 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2007 Last revised: 20 May 2009

See all articles by Susan Franck

Susan Franck

American University - Washington College of Law


With the blossoming of empirical legal scholarship, there is an increased appreciation for the insights it offers issues of international importance. One area that can benefit from such inquiry is the resolution of disputes from investment treaties, which affects international relations, implicates international legality of domestic government conduct, and puts millions of taxpayer dollars at risk. While suggesting there has been a "litigation explosion", commentators make untested assertions about investment treaty disputes. Little empirical work transparently explores this area, however. As the first research that explains its methodology and results, this article is a modest attempt to evaluate claims about investment treaty arbitration. The article explores: (1) who is involved in arbitration and what is arbitrated, (2) increases in awards, (3) win/loss rates, (4) amounts claimed and awarded, (5) arbitration costs, (6) use of other dispute resolution processes, and (7) nationality and gender of arbitrators. Subjecting these areas to empirical scrutiny provides information that sets the stage for future research to provide insights to government officials responsible for negotiating investment treaties and parties planning their dispute resolution strategies. Ultimately, it offers factual information - grounded in a valid and reliable process - that stakeholders and commentators can use to promote dialogue about and evaluate the legitimacy of a dispute resolution process with profound public implications.

Keywords: Empirical Legal Studies, Law and Society, Investment Treaties, BIT, IIA, Investment Treaty Arbitration, Dispute Resolution, Dispute Systems Design, ICSID, Litigation Explosion, Litigotiation, Women and Law, OECD, Legitimacy

JEL Classification: C10, F02, F13, F21, K41, F30, H77, E22, H87, K33, K20, O10

Suggested Citation

Franck, Susan, Empirically Evaluating Claims About Investment Treaty Arbitration. North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 86, p. 1, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=969257

Susan Franck (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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