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“Key Documents on the Reform of the UN Security Council 1991-2019” brings together primary source documents reflecting the political, legal and academic discussions of the United Nations Security Council reform, in particular the Council’s membership and decision-making, as they have taken place since 1991. Earlier discussions from the late 1940s through 1991 are covered insofar as they offer a useful contribution to the current debate. This extensive collection, curated by a leading authority, is intended to be representative of the debate as a whole without bias, faithfully reflecting the positions of various stakeholders, global participants and civil society. This important work will be an indispensable resource for researchers and students, bringing together hundreds of documents produced during more than three decades by governments, UN bodies, universities, think tanks and individual authors in a single, comprehensive volume.

This article contends that separation of powers offers a mitigating force in answering questions about the limits of the authority of the UN’s primary organs and provides a tool through which one can identify where the rule of law is under threat. Whether or not one agrees that separation of powers as such has legal applicability to the UN in a strict sense, there is value in casting the separation of powers lens over the organization as it operates now. This exercise is worthwhile not just for posterity but also because evolution of law ought to be carefully monitored, particularly at a time when regard for the fundamental norms of international law are subject to increasing derision and even direct challenge. That contemporary political tensions have slowed the Security Council from its earlier activism is precisely why this article is timely, because it is in these times that institutional memory gets lost, the boundaries of authority blur, and populist narratives bring the rule of law under threat.

In: International Organizations Law Review
In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

This article considers the approach for determining whether a dispute concerns the “interpretation or application” of a particular treaty, such that it is within the subject-matter jurisdiction of an international court or tribunal. Specifically, the article considers what approach should be taken when claims are presented as concerning the “interpretation or application” of a particular treaty, but involve central issues under rules of international law found outside the treaty in question. The specific argument made in this article is that the approach used in some recent decisions, involving characterising where the “relative weight” of a dispute lies and the “true object” of claims, should not be followed.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

Understanding the “backlash” it is facing is a necessary condition for a successful reform of international investment law and arbitration. The article develops a typology of backlash in international investment law and arbitration, identifying three main tensions in the field: contractualism vs. unilateralism; economic rationality vs. political rationality; flat world view vs. diverse world view. The article claims that the reform discussion, including at the UNCITRAL level, should be informed by this backlash typology. Two main lessons may be learned, one at the methodological level and one at the substantive level: first, the reform discussion needs to be informed by the study of systems of domestic investment law and policy; second, the reform discussion needs to move beyond its Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) confines and also include reform of the substantive law and administrative procedures of States and of international treaties.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

Correctness of arbitral awards is a central concern in current multilateral efforts to reform investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Aside from protecting the disputing parties from mistakes by tribunals (retrospective correctness), corrective review also guides future interpreters not to repeat past mistakes (prospective correctness). This article assesses how effective the three existing ISDS correction mechanisms – (1) review by annulment committees or domestic courts, (2) review by the contracting parties, and (3) review by subsequent tribunals – are in promoting such prospective correctness. After assessing existing practice, the article finds that wrong decisions “don’t die”. Annulled or set-aside awards continue to be cited, contracting states’ authoritative interpretations are disregarded, and subsequent tribunals do not converge around a jurisprudence constante. This failure of corrective mechanisms to achieve prospective correctness is due to lacking legal constraints, incentives to use favorable awards even if they have been invalidated, and the simple difficulty in telling whether an award still represents “correct” law in ISDS. The article concludes by proposing possible reforms to improve prospective correctness from the shepardization of awards, to rules on precedent, and broader institutional reform.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

The multilateral expression of the desire to reform investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) obscures the diverging preferences states have in respect of which future dispute settlement model to adopt. In order to garner broad acceptability, this article proposes that the reformed system could be designed as “dispute settlement à la carte”, with a Multilateral Investment Court coexisting with other forms of dispute resolution under the umbrella of one multilateral institution. With a view to showing that such a system is feasible, this article draws on comparative institutional design analysis, that is, a comparative assessment of dispute settlement design features across different international dispute settlement systems. This approach helps to explore what institutional design features are a useful source of inspiration for a future investment dispute settlement system that preserves flexibility for states in the choice of their preferred means of adjudication, while safeguarding legal certainty and promoting coherence in investment dispute settlement.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals
In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

This article focuses on one particular issue which has arisen in the course of the ongoing debate on the reform of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS), namely that of the appointment of arbitrators. Taking as its starting point that there now exists a tentative consensus that the present system for the appointment of arbitrators either causes or exacerbates certain problematic aspects of the current ISDS system, the article explores one option for reform: the creation of an independent panel for the scrutiny of arbitral appointments. Such a body is the most desirable way to introduce necessary scrutiny into the current appointments system, which will in turn help to address some of the criticisms levelled at ISDS more generally, while at the same time not removing completely the initiative that parties currently have to put individuals forward as their candidates to become an arbitrator.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

This overview illustrates that there is a gap in our knowledge of how domestic courts handle investor-State disputes. As it turns out, some foreign investors use the domestic courts of the host State prior to initiating investment treaty arbitration. Subject matter-wise, these cases are very diverse and not all of them are initiated by investors against the host State. Moreover, in the four countries analysed, investors often appealed to the highest courts of the land, but they lost more cases than they won. These findings should help UNCITRAL Working Group III conceptualize the meaning of “investor-State dispute” and the relationship between domestic and international methods of ISDS. This overview concludes by inviting further empirical research to understand how domestic courts handle investor-State disputes. This in turn can help us develop normative arguments as to why domestic courts should be included in the reform process.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals