Paradigm Shift in Investment Treaty Arbitration: Toward Stricter Control over the Qualifications and Conduct of Arbitrators




Kamalinejad, Hassan

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There is a growing concern over the qualifications and social interactions of investment treaty arbitrators. The characteristics of this class of international adjudicators have significantly evolved over the past few decades. The contemporary arbitration panelist interacts within a broad and complex network of arbitration participants. Their patterns of social behavior both within the community of panelists and within the broader network of actors in arbitration proceedings have fundamentally reshaped the composition, dynamics and culture of the arbitration community. These new forms of relationships and patterns of conduct are new in the context of public international law. These have created unprecedented challenges to the investment treaty arbitration system. New manifestations of attributes and social behavior of panelists demonstrate inadequacies of the existing standards, rules and procedures that govern panelists. This study surveys problematic patterns of social behavior of investment treaty adjudicators and shows how certain instances of social behavior inevitably or potentially jeopardize the very foundations of the system. This research empirically examines the voting behavior of two distinct groups of party-appointed panelists, and the results reveal a relationship between appointments and the decision-making attitude of adjudicators. It further methodically maps the pool of ICSID panelists and answers the question ‘who are ICSID panelists?’ It reviews the evolution of the attributes of ICSID adjudicators, assesses the composition of the ICSID pool, and evaluates the social interactions of this group of investment treaty adjudicators. To address the challenges that investment treaty arbitration faces, a radical and multidimensional shift is occurring in the system. This transformation is directed towards greater control over the qualifications and conduct of adjudicators. These developments reconstruct the composition of the pool of adjudicators and influence how they interact with other actors in investment treaty arbitration proceedings. The ongoing reform progress indicates that the attributes and behavior of future investment treaty adjudicators would likely be different from the characteristics and conduct of the contemporary generation of panelists.



Investment treaty arbitration, arbitrators, impartiality, independence, disqualification, conduct, qualifications, ICSID, code of conduct, permanent court system, investment treaties, State practice