The Originality of Outsiders: Innovation in the Investment Treaty System

Anthea Roberts, Taylor St John

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In recent years, several proposals by states to reform or displace investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) have gained prominence. While many factors shape which reform proposals states support, here we focus on one important, but often overlooked, factor: the 'insider' or 'outsider' status of the government officials who formulate states' proposals. Based on five years of para-ethnographic observation and interviews with officials involved in ISDS reform, and informed by the interdisciplinary innovation literature, we explore how individuals who have not spent their careers within the field of investment arbitration (and are perceived as 'outsiders' by those within that field) have developed more disruptive reform proposals while arbitral insiders have typically proposed sustaining reforms. We illuminate these dynamics in the ISDS reform debates with case studies of four actors: the USA, the European Union, Bahrain and Brazil.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1153-1181
    JournalEuropean Journal of International Law
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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