Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law

Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

International law’s role in governing disasters is undergoing a formative period in its development and reach, in parallel with concerted efforts by the international community to respond more effectively to the increasing number and intensity of disasters across the world. This Research Handbook examines a broad range of legal regimes directly and indirectly relevant to disaster prevention, mitigation and reconstruction across a spectrum of natural and manmade disasters, including armed conflict.

Chapter 10: Disasters and international trade and investment law – the state’s regulatory autonomy between risk protection and exception justification

Leïla Choukroune

Subjects: environment, disasters, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, law and development, public international law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


While there is no formal definition of ‘disaster’ in international trade and investment law, the phenomenon is not alien to these legal disciplines. Often anticipated as a risk in legal terms and remediated on the same legal grounds (treaty provisions and contract clauses), a disaster also questions the state’s ability to regulate autonomously on the basis – or not – of legally defined exceptions to the general rule. In this context, this chapter proposes to revisit the traditional international economic law approach of disasters, which has long consisted in a mix between risk protection (section 2) and exception justification (section 3). In doing so, it contributes to the current debate on the state’s regulatory autonomy for the promotion of an inclusive and sustainable growth and development that is putting the individual at its core

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