International Investment Law Center - Projects / Seminars:
UNCITRAL Workgroup III Brill Research Perspectives
Annual Course on ISDS




The Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was entrusted with a broad mandate to work on Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform. The purpose, as identified in the Report of Working Group III (Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform) on the work of its thirty-fourth session (A/CN.9/930/Rev.1) was to: (i) first, identify and consider concerns regarding ISDS; (ii) second, consider whether reform was desirable in light of any identified concerns; and (iii) third, if the Working Group were to conclude that reform was desirable, develop any relevant solutions to be recommended to the Commission. Since November 2017, the Working Group has convened two main sessions per year (one in April in New York and another in October in Vienna, Austria) and some inter-sessional meetings in various regions of the world.

International Law Institute has been invited by the UNCITRAL as an observer at the Working Group III’s sessions on Reforms in ISDS. Prior to attending the fourth session on April 1-5, 2019, on October 4, 2018 and March 12, 2019, the International Law Institute (ILI) organized discussions in Washington, DC on the specific topic of “Coherence and Consistency – Is reform desirable?” The participants, who formed ILI’s Advisory Group are ISDS practitioners, academics and experts. The Group brainstormed about whether reform is desirable regarding Working Group III’s identified concern about a lack of consistency and predictability; and, if such is the case, asked the question - how can such consistency be achieved in the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system? It was the Advisory Group’s considered opinion that reform is desirable. It recommended, in particular, that a possible solution to be further examined by Working Group III is that of a pre-award review mechanism.

ILI has prepared reports and collaborated with others on reform of the ISDS. Most recently Prof. Don Wallace Jr. and Carlos Valderrama have been involved in discussions on financing of an Advisory Center on ISDS which is one of the topics on the agenda of Working Group III. Together with N. Angelet, N. Kamau, B. Remy, and K. P. Sauvant, they have contribute on a report on this topic. These reports are available below under the tab Expert Advisory Group Reports on ISDS Reforms.


Steering Committee


Washington Expert Advisory Group


ILI Reports on ISDS


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Brill Research Perspectives in International Investment Law and Arbitration is co-published by the ILI. It provides a systematic review of key topics in this increasingly important area of international law and practice. This journal addresses issues of investment law and aims to provide an authoritative reference guide for scholars and practitioners. To promote and protect the flow of such investments, countries worldwide have entered into thousands of investment treaties and domestic investment laws, which requires them to protect foreign investment in their territories. These treaties also allow foreign investors to directly sue governments before international arbitration tribunals for treaty violations ranging from old-fashioned “expropriation without compensation” to violations of more modern protections such as the so-called “fair and equitable” standard of treatment. The claims raise a mix of public international law, private and public law, and public policy issues requiring an examination of the legitimacy of a government’s exercise of its core functions including regulatory (involving taxation, health, and environment), administrative, and police powers and the balance of those against foreign investors’ rights under the treaties. This journal addresses issues related to investment laws and investment treaty arbitration. It aims to provide an authoritative reference guide for scholars and practitioners.


Co-Editors in Chief


Managing Editor














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The use of investment treaties – including bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) - has exploded in recent years. Almost 3000 such treaties are in effect. Foreign investors have used BITs to initiate hundreds of international arbitration disputes against host governments with amounts ranging from a few million to several billion dollars in connection with foreign investments. ILI conducts an annual course on ISDS taught by leading practitioners and treaty negotiators. This seminar teaches participants about international investment treaties and also how to prevent and resolve disputes arising from them. Additionally, it includes advanced instruction in how and when international arbitration proceedings are initiated against nations that violate international treaties.


Course Advisors


Upcoming Programs


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