Does an Arbitrator’s Background Influence the Outcome of an Investor-State Arbitration?

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals
Rodrigo Polanco Lazo World Trade Institute (WTI) – University of Bern University of Luzern

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Valentino Desilvestro World Trade Institute (WTI)– University of Bern

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The goal of this article is to determine whether the background of an arbitrator could be considered as a determinant of case-outcomes in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Using the existing literature on arbitrators’ bias and experience as a starting point, this study analyses several characteristics of arbitrators as part of their “background”, grouping them into two basic categories: ISDS experience (related to their previous involvement as arbitrator or member of an annulment committee in investor-state arbitration), and personal characteristics (including age, gender, language, nationality, background legal studies and professional background). Our research concludes that, with some exceptions, generally there does not seem to be a decisive influence between the arbitrator’s ISDS experience or personal characteristics in the outcome of an investor-state arbitration case.

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