Investment Treaty Arbitration's Contribution to International Commercial Arbitration - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 60, No. 3
Barton Legum is Counsel in the Paris office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and a member of the firm’s Litigation Department. He specializes in international arbitration and litigation. He has argued cases before numerous international arbitration tribunals, the International Court of Justice, and state and federal trial and appeals courts in the United States. Earlier in his career, he served as Chief of the NAFTA Arbitration Division in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Legum is a member of the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law, and chair of its Disputes Division. He is the editor of International Litigation Strategies and Practice, a forthcoming ABA book. Mr. Legum holds a D.E.A. in public international law from the Université de Droit, d’Economie et de Sciences Sociales de Paris. He is a member of the bars of New York and Georgia. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
This article is adapted from a speech delivered at the “Young and International Seminar” sponsored by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association, held in Vienna, Austria, on March 19, 2005.
This article addresses three questions. Has investment treaty arbitration contributed to the practice of international commercial arbitration? If so, what has that contribution been? And what accounts for that contribution? My answer to the first question is yes. Indeed, not only has investment treaty arbitration had an impact on international commercial arbitration in the relatively few years since it arrived on the scene, that impact has been significant. The balance of the article will look at those impacts and the reasons for them.
Investment treaty arbitrations arise under multilateral and bilateral investment treaties entered into between States to encourage foreign investment. These treaties usually provide for arbitration of disputes between a private foreign investor and the host State under public international law.
Although investment treaty arbitration is a relatively new genre of international arbitration, arbitration itself has been used to resolve public international disputes since the beginnings of recorded history. From the ninth to the fourth century before the Common Era, for example, contemporaneous accounts describe some 110 arbitrations between the various city-states of ancient Greece.1 The modern era of international arbitration is generally thought to have begun with the arbitrations between Great Britain and the United States under the 1794 Jay Treaty (of Amity, Commerce and Navigation).2 The 19th and early 20th centuries saw dozens of arbitral commissions, modeled on those of the Jay Treaty, resolve tens of thousands of international law claims arising due to wars, insurrections, revolutions and the like.