Book Symposium Investment Law: No Law is an Island, Entire of Itself – How International Investment Law Interacts with Other Fields of International Law

by Freya Baetens

[Dr Freya Baetens is Associate Professor of Law at Leiden Law School, Director of Studies at Leiden University College (LUC) and Head of the LUC Research Centre at Leiden University.]

The last two decades have witnessed an exponential increase in investor-State arbitrations. Investment tribunals now regularly render binding decisions as to whether States have violated protection standards guaranteed under various investment treaties. The pace by which these tribunals deliver their awards has turned investment law into one of the most dynamic fields of public international law. Developments in other sub-fields of international law influence the development of international investment law, but also vice versa, changes in investment law have an impact on the evolution of other fields of international law.

As the majority of publications focuses on the application and interpretation of investment protection standards, the interaction of international investment law with other sub-fields of international law has not been so extensively explored yet. To fill this gap, academics and practitioners contributing to this collection examine specific links between investment law and such other rules of international law. In particular, this book scrutinizes how concepts, principles and rules developed in the context of other sub-fields of international law could (or should) inform the content of investment law. Solutions conceived for resolving problems in other settings may provide instructive examples for addressing current problems in the field of investment law, and vice versa. This serves as an aid for several contributors to determine whether various sub-fields of public international law, particularly international investment law, are open to cross-fertilisation, or, whether they are evolving ever further into self-contained regimes.

This book contains a peer-reviewed selection of the most innovative and outstanding papers resulting from presentations at the international conference on ‘The Interaction of International Investment Law with Other Fields of Public International Law’ which took place on 8 and 9 April 2011 at Leiden University. This conference brought together experts from the field of international investment law with renowned scholars and practitioners from other sub-fields of international law. The five parts of this volume each address one particular interrelationship: the authors of each part have had the opportunity to examine each other’s ideas so as to guarantee a coherent approach to the matter, thereby avoiding a fragmented discussion.

One important comment received in the course of preparing this book/volume was that a book such as this one could pursue two goals: (1) an overall – single volume – assessment of the literature ‘with some extra edge’; or (2) a selection of the most relevant issues. So, in which category does this work belong? The answer would be that this book as such pursues mainly the first goal but without any claim to exhaustiveness, while each individual part focuses more on the second goal. Fully achieving the first goal would be impossible without publishing a series of volumes on the topic, while merely focusing on the latter might result in a rather incoherent collection. For that purpose this book has been divided into broad themes (parts), whereby the contributions to each part are of a more specific nature –aiming to add to existing scholarship by analyzing new angles. This inevitably entails choices in terms of topics which are addressed, so for example in the human rights part, aside from two contributions with a general approach from a novel angle (sociological and constitutional) by Hirsch and Calamita, two more specific topics are analysed which bear high current relevance (indigenous peoples and the right to property) by Levine and Timmers.

International law-makers and adjudicatory bodies can no longer ignore the various interactions between international investment law and other fields of public international law – this is the quintessential idea put forward by all contributions to this volume. Matters cannot simply be let to run their course, although some adjudicatory bodies have already shown impressive ingenuity to find pragmatic solutions to imminent problems. However, a more systematic approach towards creating a new generation of international agreements is required – which implies a challenging responsibility for academics and practitioners alike who are involved in negotiating, applying and interpreting the international treaties of the 21st century.

One Response

  1. Dear Freya, congratulations! I’m following the Book Symposium from Brazil and looking forward to reading the articles!

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