SOAS University of London

School of Law

International Investment Law

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

Please note: 

non-Law students MUST have attended the Law presessional before Welcome Week in order to enrol. 

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International investment law and dispute settlement is a growing area of the law. The increase in the numbers of bilateral investment treaties (BITs); the inclusion of investment chapters in Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs); the growth in South-South investments; and the increase in the numbers of investment disputes, make this an important field of study and legal practice. These all also raise very fundamental questions such as the constraint on the regulatory powers of the state, by investment awards issued by commercial lawyers; the judicialisation of arbitrators; and the balance between attraction of investments and sustainable development of states. Most international investment law and dispute resolution courses interrogate the issues arising from this field from the perspective of capital exporting states and foreign investors. It is important to in addition, interrogate the same issues from the perspective of capital importing states, and the citizens of these states who are impacted by the activities of investors and investment awards. This module examines the nature of international investment and its legal regimes; the impact of foreign and domestic investment on the economic development of states; the protections afforded investors and their interpretations, the role of states and the impact of investment law on their regulatory powers; and the ICSID dispute resolution mechanism for investment related disputes between foreign investors and states. This module aims to equip students with a clear understanding and critical engagement of these issues from a legal perspective and particularly as it relates to developing and capital importing states.

Please note, enrolment on this module is only open to School of Law students, and non-Law students who have attended the Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods module, which runs before the start of term, 9th -20th September 2019. Information on the module, and how to enrol, can be found on the Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods module page.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of the legal regimes governing international investment.
  • demonstrate detailed understanding of current debates on issues relevant to international investment law.
  • demonstrate detailed understanding of the impact of international investment law on the wider developmental objectives of states.
  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of the substantive protections afforded investors under international law.
  • critically interrogate the impact of the international investment law regime on state sovereignty and the exercise of the regulatory powers of the state.
  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of ICSID and its dispute resolution system
  • critically evaluate the investor-state-dispute settlement regime.


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture

Method of assessment

Coursework: 100% (4000 words)

Suggested reading

  • Dolzer Rudolf & Schreuer Christoph, Principles of international Investment Law, OUP, 2008
  • Douglas Z, Pauwelyn J & Vinuales JE (eds), The Foundations of International Investment Law: Bringing Theory into Practice, OUP, 2014
  • McLachlan C, Shore L & Weininger M, International Investment Arbitration: Substantive Principles, 2nd ed., OUP, 2017.
  • Miles K, The Origins of International Investment Law, CUP, 2013


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules