EFILA Blog’s October Recommendation: Proportionality in Investor-State Arbitration

This month’s recommendation from Oxford University Press: Gebhard Bücheler – Proportionality in Investor-State Arbitration.

The new volume by Gebhard Bücheler:

  • Shows that proportionality is a general principle of law relevant to investor-State arbitration
  • Develops an analytical framework for deciding in which legal settings conflicts between the interests of foreign investors and the public interest ought to be resolved by a proportionality analysis
  • Contains an in-depth analysis of the current and potential role of proportionality in expropriation provisions, the standard of fair and equitable treatment, non-precluded measures clauses (Article XI of the US-Argentina BIT), and the customary international law defense of necessity

While international investment law is one of the most dynamic and thriving fields of international law, it is increasingly criticized for failing to strike a fair balance between private property rights and the public interest. Proportionality is a tool to resolve conflicts between competing rights and interests. This book assesses its current role, its potential, and its limits in investor-State arbitration.

Proportionality is often lauded for reconciling colliding interests. This book identifies three factors arbitrators should consider before engaging in a proportionality analysis: the rule of law, the risk of judicial law-making, and the availability of a value system that guides the proportionality analysis. Apart from making suggestions when arbitrators should apply proportionality and when not to, the book outlines what States can do to recalibrate the balance between private property rights and the public interest if they wish to do so without dismantling the current system of investor-State arbitration.

Proportionality in Investor-State Arbitration considers whether and to what extent the notion of general principles of law within the meaning of Article 38(1)(c) of the ICJ Statute and the concept of systemic integration enshrined in Article 31(3)(c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides a valid legal foundation for applying proportionality in investor-State arbitration.

Bücheler’s book represents a most welcome voice in the present discourse. It not only contributes to academic clarification of its topic, but is also a guide to the practical application of the proportionality principle. I therefore commend Proportionality in Investor-State Arbitration to scholars, counsel and arbitrators as well as to domestic decision-makers, in particular to treaty negotiators.” – Bruno Simma

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