SOAS University of London

School of Law

International Investment Law

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

International investment law (IIL) 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 arbitration; 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 also important to 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. We will particularly interrogate the impact of Covid-19 on IIL and practice.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the legal regime governing international investment.
  • Demonstrate detailed understanding of current debates on 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.
  • Be able to critically interrogate the impact of international investment law on state sovereignty and the exercise of regulatory powers of the state.
  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of ICSID and its dispute resolution system.
  • Critically evaluate the investor-state-dispute settlement system.


  • Weekly 2-hour seminar

Method of assessment

  • Research Essay: 80% (3000 words)
  • Treaty Engagement (Class Discussion): 20%

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