International Investment Law and History
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International Investment Law and History

Edited by Stephan W. Schill, Christian J. Tams and Rainer Hofmann

Historiographical approaches in international investment law scholarship are becoming ever more important. This insightful book combines perspectives from a range of expert international law scholars who explore ways in which using a broad variety of methods in historical research can lead to a better understanding of international investment law.
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Chapter 4: Understanding change: Evolution from international claims commissions to investment treaty arbitration

Heather L. Bray


This chapter uses historical research as a way to understand and explain institutional change in international dispute settlement bodies over time. The chapter’s argument is that investment treaty arbitration, which is often conceptualized in the literature as a modern post-World War II development, is not a radical departure from earlier mechanisms for resolving international claims against states for mistreatment of foreign investors but rather is a natural continuation or evolution from earlier models such as international claims commissions. Using five criteria – the origin of the dispute, the status of the individual, the role of peace, the quantity and method for processing claims, and the composition of the decision makers – the chapter charts an evolutionary pathway between international claims commissions and investment treaty arbitration and show an organic transformation between these two dispute settlement models.

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