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Critique and Reformation of Doctrine in International Investment Law: Legal Theory and Empirical Legal Studies

Critique and Reformation of Doctrine in International Investment Law: Legal Theory and Empirical Legal Studies


The protection of international investments by international agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership and its enforcement by Investor-State Dispute Settlement is currently subject of an important political debate.
That debate pits the goal of attracting and protecting international investments against that of avoiding the exploitation of
host countries and undermining their domestic law. CReDItIs will develop a new theoretical foundation for international
investment law, putting particular emphasis on systematic and theoretical rigour and using expropriation as a case-study. It
challenges the dominant stance of legal scholarship by using both legal theory and legal-empirical research. For orthodox
scholars, the law in international treaties is authoritatively defined by what 'authorities' have said. Ad hoc investment
tribunals adjudicate on investment disputes on the basis of mostly bilateral investment agreements. These awards do not
have formal precedential value, and the agreements they rely upon are similar, but not identical. Yet not only are awards of
great factual importance, legal scholarship believes that they can somehow be applied even to treaties on which they do not
adjudicate. In contrast, for legal-realist empiricism, the law is what the courts decide. CReDItIs will contrast these views with
the Pure Theory of Law, which is a legal theory arguing that seeing law as norms is possible without admixing it with nonlegal
norms, or reducing law to facts. It will highlight the factual importance of awards and treaties through the use of
empirical tools such as citation network analysis while distinguishing this from false designs to unify and concretise these
results as law. The law remains fragmented; the law remains unspecific, even if and when judicial pronouncements and
treaties are similarly worded.
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Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn


Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 207 312

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 835796


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2020

  • End date

    31 December 2022

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 207 312

  • EU contribution

    € 207 312

Coordinated by: