Call for Papers: PluriCourts Conference – 25-26 August 2016

The PluriCourts Centre of Excellence at the University of Oslo is organizing a conference titled ‘Adjudicating international trade and investment disputes: between interaction and isolation.’ The conference will be hosted at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo on Thursday and Friday 25- 26 August 2016. Submission procedures and timelines are detailed at the end of this call.

This conference aims to focus on the relationship, interactions and comparisons between the international trade and investment regimes in the context of adjudication of disputes. The conference will welcome research across the disciplines of law, political science, and philosophy relating to three themes: the new mega-regionals, comparisons and practices, and cross-fertilization and learning.

Historically, the global regulation of international trade and investment relations have been closely interrelated; but in the post-war period, international trade law and international investment law developed on largely divergent paths. While international trade regulation has culminated in a multilateral regime with a permanent dispute settlement mechanism, the international regulation of foreign direct investment is primarily governed by 3500 essentially bilateral treaty relationships calling for ad hoc investor – state arbitration potentially to be hosted by a variety of international institutions. Despite these seemingly distinct structures, there is a recent trend that some say signal a move towards regime convergence: most clearly seen in the rise of mega-regional free trade agreements (FTAs) with investment chapters.

This potential convergence may be deceiving, however. The investment chapters of FTAs remain separate from the rest of the agreements and provide for distinct rules and procedures on dispute settlement. Moreover, issues of overlap between trade chapters and investment chapters have not been resolved, which means that the same case could possibly be raised simultaneously in two separate disputes under the same FTA. Legal disputes based on investment chapters in FTAs to date (ie under the NAFTA and DR-CAFTA) appear to interpret the investment protection chapters as standalone agreements with little or no reference to other sections of the FTAs.

Despite the limitations to integration that this new generation of trade and investment agreements may represent, there are other areas of interaction between the trade and investment regimes that could provide better evidence of a gradual move towards cohesion. This conference aims to look at the development of the new mega-regionals, but also the ways (or lack thereof) that the trade and investment regimes share practices and cross-fertilize.

Submission procedure

We invite researchers from the disciplines of law, political science and philosophy to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words along with a CV of no more than two pages to Dr. Daniel Behn d.f.behn@jus.uio.no by 1 March 2016. Please indicate in the subject line of the email as to which Theme your abstract corresponds. Selection of papers will be based on abstracts as assessed through a blind process of a five person committee. Notification of successful applicants will be made by 15 March 2016. We will aim to select approximately 15 papers for presentation. Selected applicants will be required to submit a draft paper of 5000 to 7000 words two weeks prior to the conference. Travel funding may be available to paper presenters. Please indicate in the application your needs for funding.

For more details, please find here the complete Call for Papers – Trade Investment Conference.

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