Skip navigation

ITF Meeting: General Principles of Law in Investment Arbitration, and the Hierarchy of Norms under International Law

8th March 2018

Time: 18:00-20:30 (Registration from 17:30)

Venue: Jones Day
21 Tudor St

Investment arbitration is governed by international law, which in turn is defined by Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Customary international law and the lex specialis of treaties are two of the main primary sources of international law, but these sources are particularly geared to state-to-state conduct. With private parties and municipal law rights almost always at issue in an investment arbitration, the third primary source -"general principles of law recognized by civilized nations" - is becoming more important.

These are the universal principles of municipal law accepted by nearly every legal system, unmoored from the parochial nuances of any one country and reduced to the basic norms that guide commercial interaction. Pacta sunt servanda (contracts must be respected), venire contra factum proprium (estoppel) and fraus omnia corumpit (fraud vitiates everything) are among the principles that can guide and govern the outcome of a dispute that involves private parties, but is decided under international law. But how do these principles interact with custom and treaties, the other "primary" sources of international law, and subsidiary sources like jurisprudence and scholarship?

Professor Bin Cheng's 1953 book on "General Principles of Law as Applied by International Courts and Tribunals" has long been the seminal reference for these issues, but a recent book by Charles T. Kotuby Jr. and Luke A. Sobota has updated the scholarship to account for the advent of investment arbitration.

The speakers at this seminar, run on 8 March 2018 jointly by the Investment Treaty Forum and Jones Day, will consider these and other issues and their implications for the future of investment arbitration.


  • Sylvia Tonova, Partner, Jones Day, London


  • Dominique Brown-Berset, Brown&Page, Geneva
  • Charles T. Kotuby Jr., Partner, Jones Day, Washington, DC
  • Professor Yarik Kryvoi, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London
  • Professor Loukas Mistelis, Queen Mary University of London

Download the Event Flyer

This event is convened by Prof Yarik Kryvoi, Senior Research Fellow in International Economic Law and Director of the Investment Treaty Forum.

Join in the conversation @BIICL #ITFLaw #ISDS

Co-organised with

CPD Information

This event offers the equivalent of 3 CPD hours.

Pricing and Registration

Free to attend for members of the Investment Treaty Forum. ITF Members wishing to attend need to register by emailing the events team.

For all other attendees the following fees apply:

BIICL Members

  • Individual: £25
  • Concession: £20


  • Individual: £40
  • Concession: £30

Concession fees are applicable to full time academics, students, staff of government and NGO's.


If you have any queries, please contact the events team.

Media Partner

Receiving Event Communications

When registering for this event, you agree to opt-in for future contact from us by email on relevant, forthcoming events organised by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law. If you do not wish to receive such communications, you may unsubscribe, at any time, by following the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the emails or by sending an email to Please state clearly which communication you wish to unsubscribe from in the body of the email. We will amend our records immediately.

Photography and audio recording

Please note that our events may be photographed or audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email BIICL Marketing Manager, Carmel Brown, in advance of the event that you are attending.

Event Cancellation Policy

Cancellation by us

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law reserves the right to modify or cancel any event if unforeseen circumstances arise. If we cancel an event we shall inform you as soon as possible using the contact details provided to us and offer you a full refund.

Cancellation by you

All cancellations must be made in writing via email to and be no less than one week prior to the event.

Payment for registration will always be required, and must be made prior to the event. If sufficient written notification of cancellation is received, a full refund will be given. If insufficient notice is given, payment for your registration will still be required.

No charge events

All events are costly to set up, even those for which there is 'no charge'. If you register but find you are unable to attend, please let us know as soon as possible. As a charity we need to cover the costs of events, and we may charge you a fee of £10 for administration and catering costs if you fail to attend or give us less than 24 hours' notice.

By registering for an event, you have confirmed that you have read and understood our cancellation policy.

11th May 2018 | LONDON

Thirtieth ITF Public Conference: Enforcement in International Investment Law

Read more

26th October 2018

SAVE THE DATE: International Conference: Law, Gender and Sexuality

Read more

30th June 2018 | LEIDEN

57th Leiden-London Meeting: Legal Issues around EU Agencies

Read more

1st June 2018 | TOKYO

ITF Meeting: Ethics and the Rule of Law in Investment Arbitration

Read more

23rd May 2018 | LONDON

ICLQ Annual Lecture 2018

Read more