Role of Public International Law in Governing International Investment Law and Investor-State Arbitration

Investment arbitration is a procedure to resolve disputes between foreign investors and host States (also called Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ISDS). The possibility for a foreign investor to sue a host State is a guarantee for the foreign investor that, in the case of a dispute, it will have access to independent and qualified arbitrators who will solve the dispute and render an enforceable award. However, neither a pure global law understanding nor a pure business law comprehension of investor-state dispute settlement seems adequate in itself to appreciate the particular attributes of international investment law and the difficulties the framework faces. It is generally expected that investor-state dispute settlement ought to satisfy judicial review under its managerial and established law, oppressing host State public power to a comprehension of the standard of law that centers mostly around limitations in the relations among public and private entertainers. 

Notwithstanding, an arbitral audit of public authority as executed doesn’t adjust to public law norms. In particular, the necessity that the auditing powers themselves satisfy public law guidelines of the standard of law and majority rules system is missing. Neither business arbitration nor public international law approaches can get a handle on these difficulties enough since they don’t adequately catch the public law nature of global investment law. This article explores the relationship between both the public international law and the international investment law with the investor-state arbitration along with its importance and needs to the community. 


Global treaties establish one of the chief instruments to improve the standard of law in investor-state relations. In any case, for quite a while, they have been generally secret and little-utilized instruments under global law by which states, for the most part on a reciprocal level, however progressively frequently likewise provincially and sometimes even in multilateral instruments, award unfamiliar investors from the other contracting state(s) certain rights. It was uniquely during the most recent decade that global investment law became standard in the international law network. This was primarily because of the developing question settlement practice under-investment arrangements, which developed quickly, from its first use in the last part of the 1980s in Asian Agricultural Products v Sri Lanka to more than 560 deal-based investment debates in 2013. 

The meaning of investor and investment are among the key components deciding the extent of use of rights and commitments under global investment arrangements. 

There are two sorts of investors: natural and legal people. For characteristic people, investment arrangements for the most part base ethnicity only on the law of the condition of asserted identity. Some investment arrangements additionally present elective rules, for example, a prerequisite of residency or habitation. The issues identified with the ethnicity of lawful people are more confounded. Organizations today work in manners that can make it exceptionally hard to decide ethnicity. 

Courts have normally embraced the trial of consolidation or seat as opposed to control while deciding the ethnicity of a juridical individual, except if the trial of control is accommodated in the arrangement. Appropriately, it is the overall practice in investment arrangements to explicitly characterize the target rules which make a lawful individual a public, or financial specialist, of a Party, for reasons for the understanding. At the point when the target standards utilized may incorporate investors to whom a Party would not wish to broaden the deal insurance, a few arrangements incorporate “refusal of advantages” statements permitting avoidance of financial specialists in specific classes. 

The development of investment settlements and investment arrangement arbitration has driven, inside a short space of time, to an exuberant discussion about the advantages, legitimization, and issues of this unique system for unfamiliar financial specialists. Surely, this discussion has formed into what is regularly called an “authenticity crisis” of international investment law. Indications of this emergency are the withdrawal of certain states from two-sided investment arrangements (BITs) and the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID); the endeavors of numerous nations to recalibrate their investment deal commitments and to rethink investment deal arbitration; and at this point, a more overall population banter about the conceivably destructive effect of investment deals on states’ entitlement to manage, bury Alia, for the assurance of the climate, common freedoms, or other public premiums. Pundits question the popularity-based responsibility, freedom, and fair-mindedness of authorities, oppose the ambiguity of arrangement norms, sentence the degree to which mediators’ understandings of these principles limit the privilege of host states to direct in the public premium and deplore the foundation of investor-state debate settlement.

The presence of investment settlements is best considered comparable to the standard of law by taking a gander at the goals of investment arrangements. These are firmly identified with the elements of the standard of law. Essential destinations are the security and advancement of the unfamiliar investment; auxiliary goals include market progression and the structure of nearer monetary and political relations among contracting states.

Standard of Law 

The elements of the standard of law can be found in corresponding to these goals. The objective to ensure unfamiliar investment relates to the security that the standard of law is intended to manage the cost of against ill-conceived government lead. The advancement of unfamiliar investment runs corresponding to the capacity of the standard of law in diminishing political danger, that is, the danger coming about because of participation with an expression that has power over the law directing the investment and which, without an investment deal, practices total legal authority over any debates that may emerge between the investor and the host state.

The particular ensures contained in investment settlements target actualizing structures that are fundamental for the working of a market economy and spread parts of the standard of law. Public and most-supported country treatment is intended to achieve correspondence under the watchful eye of the law by guaranteeing, as an essential for reasonable rivalry, a level battleground for the monetary action of unfamiliar and domestic financial entertainers.

The assurance against seizure ensures regard for property rights as a part of the standard of law and a fundamental essential for market exchanges; capital exchange ensures guarantee the free progression of capital all through the host state and add to the effective assignment of assets in an international market; and umbrella provisions back up private requesting between unfamiliar investors and the host state by guaranteeing that legally binding and other comparable guarantees opposite unfamiliar financial specialists profit by a layer of global law insurance notwithstanding the securities that exist under domestic law. Every one of these norms addresses issues that organizations face and which concern parts of the standard of law.

In close corresponding to the meaning of the standard of law set out above, and relying on the setting of various cases, arbitral courts have differently deciphered the norm of reasonable and fair treatment to include: 

  1. the necessity of legitimate security and consistency; 
  2. the guideline of legitimateness; 
  3. the insurance of real desires; 
  4. essential fair treatment prerequisites for managerial and legal procedures; 
  5. insurance against assertion and separation; 
  6. lawful conviction and straightforwardness; and 
  7. the idea of proportionality or sensibility. 

These ideas reflect components of the standard of law that one can likewise discover in the regulatory and protected structures of numerous nations around the world. 

Model of Arbitral Law

A model from arbitral law outline the equals between the standard of law and reasonable and evenhanded treatment may get the job done for present purposes. The model is the choice in Waste Management v. Mexico, an ICSID Additional Facility case under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

In its honor, the Tribunal comprehended the reasonable and evenhanded treatment to be: 

“… encroached by direct inferable from the State and destructive to the inquirer if the lead is subjective, terribly uncalled for, low or eccentric, is biased and opens the petitioner to sectional or racial bias, or includes an absence of fair treatment prompting a result which affronts legal appropriateness – as may be the situation with a show disappointment of regular equity in legal procedures or a total absence of straightforwardness and sincerity in a regulatory cycle“. 

Another model is the ICSID case Tecmed v Mexico under the Spanish-Mexican BIT. 

In applying the reasonable and impartial treatment standard to the relations between a financial specialist in an unsafe waste landfill and the administrative organization, the Tribunal zeroed in on the idea of authentic desires as a major aspect of reasonable and fair treatment and held that:

“the last norm … requires … treatment that doesn’t influence the fundamental desires that were considered by the unfamiliar investor to invest. The unfamiliar investor expects the host State to act predictably, liberated from equivocalness, and straightforwardly in its relations with the unfamiliar financial specialist … The unfamiliar investor additionally expects the host State to act reliably, for example without subjectively denying any previous choices or licenses given by the State that were depended upon by the financial specialist to accept its duties … The investor likewise anticipates that the State should utilize the legitimate instruments that oversee the activities of the investor or the interest in similarity with the capacity normally allocated to such instruments, and not to deny the investor of its investment without the necessary remuneration”.

Not exclusively can a comprehension of reasonable and impartial treatment as an exemplification of the standard of law be remade from the arbitral statute; it can likewise be connected to the improvement related article and motivation behind investment deals. This is conceivable while considering the discussion about the connection between the standard of law and improvement along with the item and motivation behind global investment law to add to the host nation’s advancement by ensuring and advancing unfamiliar investment.

Investment arrangement discretion fills in as a system to actualize the standard of law principles set down in investment settlements. Besides, investment deal discretion can be perceived as a type of admittance to equity, as a nonpartisan, autonomous, and fair-minded debate settlement instrument that can control government activity. In that regard, investment settlement discretion expects the job that is generally satisfied by courts practicing legal survey at the domestic level.

In Germany, to take a model, domestic law, including protected law, contains various significant limitations for outsiders in this regard. The German Constitution, the “Grundgesetz” (Basic Law), for example, doesn’t concede key rights to unfamiliar juridical people. Under Article 19(3) Grundgesetz, unfamiliar partnerships can’t depend on principal rights conceded in the Constitution, and consequently have no admittance to the German Constitutional Court. 

Even very much evolved domestic systems can confront issues with their domestic courts. Regarding Germany, for instance, the European Court of Human Rights has delivered numerous decisions concluding that the length of domestic court procedures in Germany was in opposition to Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights which accommodates “a reasonable and formal proceeding inside a sensible time by a free and unprejudiced council set up by law.”

Surveying of investment arbitration as an instrument to give judicial review can likewise be supported by the reasoning of a choice of the European Court of Human Rights that concerned whether or not Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights expected admittance to a lasting court to bring claims, including against the administration.

In Lithgow and others v United Kingdom, the candidates contended that an “arbitration Tribunal was not a legal counsel” in the feeling of Article 6(1) of the Convention “in that it was an unprecedented court, specifically a council set up to settle a set number of unique issues influencing a predetermined number of organizations“. 

This drew the accompanying reaction from the Court: 

The Court can’t acknowledge this contention. It takes note that the Arbitration Tribunal was ‘set up by law’, a point which the candidates didn’t debate. Once more, it reviews the word ‘council’ in Article 6 para. 1 isn’t really to be perceived as implying an official courtroom of the exemplary kind, coordinated inside the standard legal machinery of the nation; consequently, it might involve a body set up to decide a predetermined number of explicit issues, given consistently that it offers the fitting assurances. The Court additionally noticed that, under the legal instruments overseeing the issue, the procedures before the Arbitration Tribunal were like those under the watchful eye of a court and that due arrangement was made for requests.” 

As extra systems to actualize the standard of law guidelines contained in investment arrangements, one could likewise advance the immediate use of investment deals in domestic courts and by the domestic chief, and consider the presentation of investment settlement sway appraisal components to lessen, or even keep away from, the obligation of host states under-investment settlements.

Difficulties in the Standard of Law

Difficulties to the standard of law that are brought about by investment law itself are complex which could be expressed as follows: 

  • In the first place, investment deals actualize an awry standard of law: they secure unfamiliar financial specialists without explicitly having respect to contending rights and interests that are ensured under public or international law. How investment settlements cooperate with common liberties, general wellbeing, ecological law, work rights or indigenous rights, and all the more, for the most part, the topic of how much space they provide for have governments to control in the public premium is a worry that must be tended to survey what sort of rule of law investment deals further.
  • Furthermore, irregularities in arbitral honors comprise an issue for lawful sureness and consistency and thus for the standard of law. 
  • Thirdly, there is an issue of responsibility of authorities in the manner they build up the law because there are no administrative components that are practically identical to the ones at the domestic level, in particular a preeminent or sacred court at the summit of the court framework and a council that can demonstration against legal choices that it believes bothersome by changing the law to be applied by the courts.
  • Fourthly, the issue of freedom and fairness of judges, the topic of a supposed supportive of investment predisposition in their statute, and what is regularly called a “twofold cap issue“, that is, the way that very much the same individual can go about as mediator in one procedure and at the same time as advice for another situation, are questions that should be tended to from the viewpoint of the standard of law.
  • At last, straightforwardness and outsider investment are significant issues for the standard of law. 

Hence, the idea of the standard of law can be utilized to request more straightforwardness and outsider support, a cycle that is well in progress with the happening of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-put together Investor-State Arbitration on 1 April 2014 and the selection by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-put together Investor-State Arbitration on 10 December 2014.


Given the contrasts between global investment law and conventional public international law, from one viewpoint, and business intervention, on different, analogies with the two systems, while positively not barred, must be treated with alert. Rather, considering the imminent agreement to submit to the assertion by have Stated to serve private entertainers and the topic at play, i.e., deciding the congruity of government leaders with an objective and foreordained international norms of treatment, financial specialist State intervention is better analogized with a legal survey of legislative direct under authoritative (or sacred) law at the domestic level or global judicial review, for example, global common freedoms arbitration, WTO debate settlement, or plan of action to supranational courts in provincial joining investments, to which investor-State discretion is practically same. Thus, in end, it could be concluded that the International investment law is subsequently a type of global public law that can’t function properly under the ambit of the provisions of Public Law. Hence, Public Law is very much essential to International Law for the smooth functioning of International Investment Law and Investor-State Arbitration. 


  • Daniel Peat, International Investment Law, and the Public Law Analogy: The Fallacies of the General Principles Method, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Volume 9, Issue 4, December 2018, Pages 654–678
  • Stephan Schill, The Public Law Paradigm in International Investment Law, EJIL: Talk!, December 3, 2013
  • Catherine Yannaca, Definition of Investor and Investment in International Investment Agreements, International Investment Law: Understanding Concepts and Tracking Innovations, ISBN 978-92-64-04202-5
  • Stephan W. Schill, International Investment Law and The Rule of Law, Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-18, Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2017-15
  • Christoph Schreuer, The Relevance of Public International Law in International Commercial Arbitration: Investment Disputes, International Arbitration Law, University of Vienna

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