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International Investment Law

Learn the features and dynamics of an important field of international law that grants rights to foreign investors to foster States’ development.

International Investment Law

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27,329 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Oct 15
Estimated 10 weeks
6–8 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Are you aware of the controversial investor-State disputes and arbitral awards in which the public interest has been at stake, for instance, the protection of human rights and the environment? Do you recall recent cases such as Philip Morris v Uruguay and Vattenfall v Germany?

In the aftermath of these high profile cases and in the context of the negotiation of new international investment treaties, like the CETA and the TPP, local populations, policy-makers and NGOs have come to realize the societal importance of international investment law and arbitration. Passionate and sometimes ill-informed discussions have resulted from this realization. They have focused on the features of international investment law, which has traditionally granted rights to foreign investors notably to foster States’ economic development. Central to these discussions are the issues of:

  • the balance between the protection of foreign investments/investors and the right of host States to regulate in order to protect public interest objectives;
  • the regulation of foreign investments, i.e., the duties and obligations of foreign investors;
  • the promotion of sustainable development in international investment law;
  • the legitimacy of arbitration tribunals to decide on disputes between host States and foreign investors;
  • the coherence of arbitration practice.

Learning and understanding the features and dynamics of international investment law and arbitration is key not only for international lawyers and policy-makers, but it is also important knowledge for all well-informed citizens.

In this law course, you will:

  • discover the history of international investment law and arbitration as well as understand the dynamics which shape its evolution;
  • learn the objectives of international investment law and the specific rights international investment agreements (bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements’ investment chapters) grant to foreign investors, for instance the fair and equitable treatment and the prohibition of illegal expropriation;
  • discover how those rights have been interpreted in investment treaty arbitration;
  • master the features and functions of investor-state arbitration;
  • understand why international investment law and investor-state arbitration are currently the subject of criticism and be able to assess the soundness of this criticism;
  • gain insight into the content of the treaties newly concluded, and be able to assess how they address the issues of the right of host States to regulate, of foreign investors’ obligations and of the legitimacy of arbitration tribunals.

At a glance

  • Institution: LouvainX
  • Subject: Law
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:

    Knowledge of the fundamentals of International Law (subjects and sources of International Law/ principles governing international responsibility). Such knowledge may be acquired by the successful completion ofLouv5x – International Law. In addition, students should be familiar with the requirements of graduate-level courses and should preferably have already followed some law courses in order to be familiar with legal concepts and legal language.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated programs:

What you'll learn

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At the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • relate the history and evolution of international investment law and comment on current controversies and criticisms;
  • analyse the law and practice of international investment law;
  • understand the functioning of investment arbitration.

Module 1: The history of international investment law

  • Genesis, development and current features of international investment law

Module 2: The standards of treatment

  • The fair and equitable treatment standard
  • The full protection and security standard
  • The national treatment and most-favoured-nation treatment standards
  • The ‘umbrella clause’

Module 3: The protection against illegal expropriation

  • The categories of expropriation
  • The conditions of legality of expropriation
  • The identification indirect expropriation’s instances
  • ‘Regulatory measures’ versus ‘expropriatory measures’

Module 4: Investor-state arbitration: institutional and procedural aspects

  • The features of the settlement of investor-state disputes
  • The jurisdiction of arbitration tribunals
  • Provisional measures
  • Annulment proceedings

Module 5: Investor-state arbitration: interpretation, applicable law and State responsibility

  • Interpretation
  • Applicable law
  • Circumstances precluding wrongfulness
  • Reparation

Module 6: The future of international investment law

  • The future of investor-state dispute settlement
  • The protection of sustainable development
  • The obligations of foreign investors

Learner testimonials

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" This course provides a solid basis on investment law, that is very valuable and comprehensive to build further. Professor Radi is very pleasant to listen to and I enjoyed his style of teaching. The theory is always supported by readings, which allows to get a broader view on the topic. I am grateful for this course and can recommend it to everyone who's interested in international relationships, be it inter-state or state-individual. "Frances Nader, on CourseTalk.

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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