Chapter 07 - Keynote Speaker Transcript - Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law - Volume 8
Originally from Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law - Volume 8
Keynote Speaker: George Kahale III
MR. LAIRD: Welcome back, everyone. My name is Ian Laird. I didn’t introduce myself earlier. I am a partner in the international dispute resolution of Crowell & Moring here in Washington, DC and one of the co-chairs of this event.
One of the highlights of our annual conference is having noted and eminent keynote speakers to come and give their views about current issues in investor-state investment arbitration. I am pleased to say that today’s speaker is an excellent continuation of that pattern.
We have today one of most senior people in our field, George Kahale from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle. George has been a chairman of Curtis since 2008. He’s been lead counsel on numerous international investment arbitrations, some of the largest arbitrations that have occurred in our field. Curtis, Mallet, as you know, represents many States, and that’s their primary and sole representation.
George himself has made a major mark in this field, and I have to give great credit to Curtis, Mallet for becoming one of the leading firms in our field. It’s a great pleasure to have him here today to give us the benefit of his views and his experience.
So, I’d like to ask Mr. Kahale to come to the stage. We look forward to your thoughts.
MR. KAHALE: Thank you, Ian.
First, let me say that I feel very honored and privileged to be here today. I want to thank all the organizers for inviting me, despite knowing the views that I’d be likely to express. As some of you may know, I have a slightly different perspective on investor-state arbitration, having spent most of my career as an international corporate lawyer, but it’s true that I’ve had the distinct privilege over the last decade or so of intensive involvement in this rapidly expanding field, and unfortunately I have to tell you that I don’t like much of what I see.
Since I’ve written and spoken about this in various fora, I often get the question of why I like biting the hand that feeds me. The answer isn’t simply that I can always go back to drafting contracts instead of briefs; it is that the system that we’re celebrating is seriously flawed, and in my view it needs a complete overhaul, even though we all know that isn’t going to happen any time soon. I’m not going to catalogue today for you all of the troubling aspects of investor-state arbitration. I’ve just selected my Top Ten for your consideration.