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A normative framework for evaluating the interpretation of investment treaty protections.

  • Start date: 20 February 2012
  • End date: 30 June 2013

Over the past fifty years, States have established a network of three thousand treaties dealing with the protection of foreign investment. Foreign investors are entitled to bring claims that  host States have breached these treaties directly to international arbitration. If successful, an investor is entitled to a binding and enforceable monetary award. Questions have arisen about whether these treaties provide overly expansive legal rights to foreign investors.

Drawing on economic theory, empirical evidence and a detailed legal analysis of the provisions of existing investment treaties, Jonathan Bonnitcha’s research seeks to determine the level of substantive protection that investment treaties should provide to foreign investment. It argues that the economic justifications for providing preferential legal protection to foreign investment are weaker than generally assumed, and that the grant of expansive rights to investors entails significant policy costs. The output of his research will be a monograph developing this argument, as well as two articles dealing with more specific questions.

Jonathan’s research is highly relevant to governments reflecting on the drafting of investment treaties, including the European Commission, which is currently drafting a new European model investment treaty, and the United States, which is reviewing its treaty practice.

  • Outputs (4)