Washington and Lee law professor Susan Franck delivered a keynote address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Friday, October 31, 2014. The event was entitled “Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Reality Check”.
Professor Franck’s keynote address was delivered to a live audience of 12o participants, including over forty representatives from foreign embassies, as well as an internet audience as the event was streamed live from the CSIS website.
The event addresses the current state of investor-state dispute settlement, bilateral investment treaties and agreements, topics much debated in the media in recent weeks and months. Professor Franck’s keynote address presented her acclaimed empirical research on the subject.
From the abstract of Professor Franck’s forthcoming work in the Virginia Journal of International Law:
International dispute settlement is an area of ongoing evaluation and tension within the international political economy. As states continue their negotiations for the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the efficacy of international arbitration as a method of dispute settlement remains controversial. Whereas some sing its praises as a method of protecting private property interests against improper government interference, others decry investment treaty arbitration (ITA) as biased against states. The literature has thus far not disentangled how politics and development contribute to investment dispute outcomes. In an effort to control for the effect of internal state politics, this Article offers the first analysis of ITA outcomes, focusing on respondent states’ development status while simultaneously controlling for states’ democracy levels. Using a dataset of 159 final ITA awards from prior to January 2012, the Article conducts quantitative analyses of outcomes as a function of raw wins and losses, amounts awarded, and relative investor success. After controlling for the effect of a state’s internal democracy levels, twelve analyses were unable to identify a reliable link with ITA outcomes and development status irrespective of how development status was defined. While the Article cannot conclusively exclude the possibility of systemic bias in ITA against the developing world, it provides additional evidence suggesting the potential absence of such bias.
Audio and video of Professor Franck’s keynote is available here.