Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


Leave a comment

Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration: Common Controversies

By Anthea Roberts,

Centre for International Governance & Justice, RegNet

My previous blog provided an introduction to investment treaty law and arbitration. In this blog, I consider some controversial aspects of an area of law that has only recently attracted widespread public attention.

Continue Reading →


Leave a comment

An Introduction to Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration

By Anthea Roberts,

Centre for International Governance & Justice, RegNet

High profile cases in which corporations have taken states to arbitration, such as the case brought by tobacco company Philip Morris against Australia, have drawn public attention to an area of treaty law that has until recently been poorly understood except by a small club of experts. This blog provides an introduction to investment treaty law. A subsequent blog will discuss some of its more contentious aspects.

Continue Reading →


Leave a comment

Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Examiners applaud ‘an exceptional’ PhD

Shane, supervisor Jeremy Farrall, and ‘Law’s rule – Liberia and the rule of law’

Shane, supervisor Jeremy Farrall, and ‘Law’s rule – Liberia and the rule of law’

Regarding Rights is thrilled to announce that Shane Chalmers’s PhD has been approved. Shane is a popular RR contributor (see his posts, ‘The Living Dead’ and ‘The “call and answer” of the Universal Periodic Review’), and the introduction to his thesis, Law’s Rule: Liberia and the Rule of Law appeared earlier this year in the post, ‘Being detained: Prelude to a thesis on Liberia and the rule of law’.

Shane’s examiners described his thesis as both a pleasure to read and ‘a truly interdisciplinary work of scholarship’. Peter Rush commented:

This is an exceptional thesis….Its contribution is not only to the study of the discourses and institutions of the rule of law in Liberia, but also to contemporary theories of law’s rule, of legal pluralism, and of post-conflict studies, as well as to the jurisprudence of law. Its facility with the existing debates in these fields, as well as the politics of rule of law debates in international law and in Liberia, is nothing less than remarkable.

Shane is currently undertaking an Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship on ‘The Rule of Law in Transition’. The Fellowship is hosted by the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Spain, and Shane plans to spend his time transforming his thesis into a book. Enjoy your time at Oñati Shane – and congratulations on a wonderful PhD result!

Masterclass on investment treaties

StopTheTPPsurfboard%20flickr%20attribute%20to%20SumOfUsCIGJ Associate Professor, Anthea Roberts, held a masterclass recently on the global Investment Treaty System that has emerged since the 1990s.

Based on thousands of bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements, the system has also seen hundreds of investor-state arbitrations. These arbitrations, in which private corporations can take states to arbitration under the terms of state-based investment treaties, have been hugely controversial. In some cases, investors have been awarded large damages – in one case the Czech Republic was required to pay a sum equivalent to its annual health budget.

Originally promoted as a way of encouraging foreign direct investment in states, whether the system actually has any impact on business investment decisions is now unclear. Also troubling is evidence that poor or weaker states have entered treaties that contain ‘investor-state dispute settlement clauses’ – allowing private companies to sue states – with little understanding of the liability implications.

While wealthy states have also found themselves drawn into costly arbitrations, including the case brought by the tobacco company, Philip Morris, against Australia, these states are now drafting investment treaty obligations more carefully and narrowly, attempting to achieve a better balance between investor protection and state sovereignty. However, many older style investment treaties remain in effect, causing risks for treaty parties.

Following Anthea’s masterclass, RegNet visitor Richard Braddock gave a seminar on recent developments in investment agreements, discussing how governments are attempting to exercise greater control over the terms of the agreements and the resolution of investor-state disputes.

Regarding Rights will publish a post based on Anthea’s masterclass in coming weeks.


Leave a comment

Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

The Future of Women’s Engagement with International Law

Hilary Charlesworth with members of the International Court of Justice

Since Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright published their ground-breaking ‘Feminist Approaches to International Law’ in 1991, scholars and advocates have been exploring the interaction between the rights and well-being of women and the promise of international law. The Future of Women’s Engagement with International Law Project aims to define the research agenda for women’s engagement with international law over the next 50 years. Continue Reading →


Leave a comment

Centre for International Governance & Justice: News & Events

Welcome

Mareike Riedel Miranda ForsythRoberts_Anthea_2016 Kent_Lia_2015

We are very pleased to welcome Mareike Reidel back to the CIGJ – and as a new editor of Regarding Rights. Mareike visited us last year and has now transferred permanently from the Law & Anthropology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. With a background in law, linguistics, literature and journalism, Mareike’s current PhD research is concerned with the impact of identity discourses and politics on the protection and regulation of religious minorities.

Also returning to the Centre is Miranda Forsythe. In July last year Miranda completed a three year ARC Discovery project investigating the impact of intellectual property laws on development in Pacific Island countries. Miranda has worked as a senior lecturer at the law school of the University of the South Pacific in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Her current research considers the possibilities and challenges presented by the intersections between state and non-state justice and regulatory systems. Welcome Miranda!

Welcome as well to Anthea Roberts. Anthea is a specialist in public international law, investment treaty law and arbitration and comparative international law. She has worked at the London School of Economics (2008-2015), as a Visiting Professor and Professor at Columbia Law School (2012-2015), and as a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School (2011-2012).

Finally, we are delighted to belatedly welcome Lia Kent. Lia was until recently a research fellow in ANU’s State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) program. With a background in socio-legal studies, she has research interests in the areas of transitional justice, memory studies, peacebuilding, and gender studies. Lia is currently working on an ARC Discovery project: After Conflict: Local Memories and Nation-building in Timor-Leste and Bougainville.

Senate Inquiry into payments by the Commonwealth of Australia in exchange for the turn back of asylum seeker boats

Last year Hilary Charlesworth, Jacinta Mulders and Emma Larking provided a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee’s inquiry into payments in exchange for the turn back of asylum seeker boats. Their submission dealt with the legality of such payments under international law. Emma appeared at the Committee hearing last Friday, along with Professor Anthony Cassimatis from the University of Queensland, and Greg Hanson and David Manne from Melbourne’s Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre.

Fellowship Request

Former CIGJ visitor – and author of a recent post – Yaprak Yildiz, is hoping to visit Australia again this year. Yaprak is seeking a visiting fellowship for about three months from September or October. She is hoping to find a fellowship that will help cover the costs of her travel as well as accommodation while in Australia. If you have any leads, please email yyy23 at cam.ac.uk.

Where are you now?

Are you a friend of the Centre who lives interstate or overseas, or a former CIGJ visitor? If you haven’t been in touch for a while, we would love to hear from you and to pass on your news to the Regarding Rights community. Let us know where you are working, and any other notable events such as grants awarded, PhDs submitted, and new publications.

Submission Celebrations

Jacky finalYesterday Jacky Parry submitted her PhD thesis, titled ‘Transitional justice and displacement: lessons from Liberia and Afghanistan’. Congratulations Jacky!