3 ECTS credits
75 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 8020291GNR for all students in the 1st semester at a (G) Postgraduate - preliminary level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Social Sciences & SolvayBusinessSchool
ES Academische eenheid
Educational team
Filip Batselé (course titular)
Activities and contact hours
21 contact hours Lecture
Course Content

Class 1. Introduction to International Investment Law


·       Historic overview of the development of international investment law

·       The origins and sources of investor-state arbitration

·       The role of diplomatic protection in investment disputes + drawbacks and advantages of diplomatic protection

·       The main institutions involved in international investment law

Class 2. The Investment Treaty Regime

·       The 'treatification’ of international investment law

·       The main content of investment treaties

·       The use of Model BITs

·       The purpose of BITs (from the perspective of capital-importing and capital-exporting states)

·       The negotiating process of investment treaties

Class 3. Protection Standards in investment treaties, Part 1

·       The beneficiaries of investment treaties (definition of ‘investment’ and ‘investor’)

·       The expropriation standard (incl. problems of valuation of compensation)

·       The free transfer clause

Class 4. Protection Standards in investment treaties, Part 2

·       FET (European style+ NAFTA style minimum standard of customary international law, new CETA FET)

·       MFN, NT

·       Umbrella clause

·       Full protection and security

·       Exceptions (tax carve out, denial of justice, labour/environmental standards)

Class 5. The Investor-State Arbitration Process

·       ICSID and other fora for investor-state arbitration

·        Elements of ICSID Arbitration

o   Jurisdiction of the Centre

o   Selection of arbitrators

o   Applicable law

o   Costs

o   ICSID Annulment

o   Recognition, enforcement, and execution of the award

o   Withdrawal of consent to arbitrate

Class 6. Practical session:

·       Mock negotiation of a bilateral investment treaty

o   Students are divided in small teams (capital exporting vs capital importing country) and will have the task to try and negotiate a bilateral investment treaty, considering their respective interests. Teams will receive the text of a model investment treaty and key interests, which serve as starting positions.

o   After the negotiation session, the various teams briefly explain the outcome of their negotiation to the class, and why a compromise text could (not) be negotiated

Class 7.  Recent developments in International Investment Law

·       The exit of several south American states from ICSID

·       The termination of BITs by an increasing number of states

·       The public debate against ISDS and BITs (incl. issues of labour standards, environmental protection, controversy surrounding the Energy Charter Treaty) 

·       The reform efforts (modification protection standards, filter mechanisms, the UNCITRAL transparency rules)

·       The newly proposed investment court system (ICS) in EU investment treaties & the push for the creation of a multilateral investment court

·       International investment law in context: contracts, domestic investment codes and investment guarantees

Course material
Handbook (Required) : International Investment Law, Text, Cases and Materials, Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, 3rd, Edward Elgar Publishing, 9781788977234, 2020
Additional info

Course material


Handbook (Required) : International Investment Law, Text, Cases and Materials, Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, 3rd, Edward Elgar Publishing, 9781788977234, 2020

Study material

Slides prepared by the lecturers.

Selected case-law (will be provided in advance by the lecturer)

UNCTAD, Investment Policy Hub (available at: https://investmentpolicy.unctad.org/international-investment-agreements)

Complementary study material

Will be recommended by the lecturer.

Learning Outcomes

Algemene Competenties

Students will have an understanding of, and ability to apply, principles of the following:

             Foundations of International Investment Law

             Protection Standards contained in investment treaties

             Investment Treaty arbitration (procedural aspects, process, recognition and enforcement of awards)

             Recent developments in International Investment Law


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Oral Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Oral Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Oral Exam with a relative weight of 100 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

Not applicable.

Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Laws: Dual Master in Comparative Corporate and Financial Law (only offered in Dutch)
Postgraduate Certificate Economic Diplomacy: Standaard traject
Postgraduate Certificate Flagship Programme in Economic Diplomacy and International Business: Standaard traject