The Future of International Investment Regulation: Towards a World Investment Organisation?

Nicolette Butler, Surya Subedi (Collaborator)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With growth in foreign investment and in the number of companies investing in foreign countries, the application of general principles of public international law has not been deemed adequate to regulate foreign investment and there is, as yet, no comprehensive international treaty on the regulation of foreign investment. Consequently, states have resorted to bilateral investment treaties (BITs), regional trade and international investment agreements (IIAs) and free trade agreements to supplement and complement the regime of protection for foreign investors. In the absence of an international investment court, states hosting foreign investment or investor states have opted for investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS). This mechanism has brought about its own challenges to the international law of foreign investment due to inconsistency in the application and interpretation of the key principles of international investment law by such arbitration tribunals, and further, there is no appellate mechanism to bring about some cohesion and consistency in jurisprudence. Therefore, there are various proposals mooted by scholars to address these challenges and they range from tweaks to BITs and IIAs, the creation of an appellate mechanism and the negotiation of a multilateral treaty to proposals for reform of ISDS only. After assessing the merits and demerits of such proposals, this study goes further, arguing for the creation of a World Investment Organisation with a standing mechanism for settlement of investment disputes in order to ensure legal certainty, predictability and the promotion of the flow of foreign investment in a sustainable and responsible manner.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNetherlands International Law Review
Issue number1
Early online date24 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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