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Forty-First ITF Public Conference: Contracts with States in International Investment Law (Hybrid)

Date: 19 April 2024

Time: 09.30 - 16.15 (Registration from 09.00)

Venue: BIICL, Russell Square, London and Online

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Event Details

When the ICSID Convention was drafted the prevailing view was that most investor-state disputes would arise out of contracts. However, in practice the majority of ICSID and other investor-state disputes arise out of international investment treaties. At the same time, investor-state disputes based on contracts constitute a significant part of all disputes. Some case arising out of contracts become public, but many remain confidential.

Contracts of investors with states lead to many complex legal issues, the complexity of which is usually determined by the nature of State as a contracting party, issues of sovereign immunity, state responsibility and its influence over domestic courts and other state bodies. Many investor-state contracts include stabilisation clauses aimed at protecting investors from adverse changes in law or regulations but often leading to disputes over the extent of stabilization and the balance of investor protection versus state sovereignty.

States may also file counterclaims against investors, alleging breaches of contractual obligations or violations of domestic laws, leading to additional complexity and potentially escalating disputes. In cases involving multiple entities within an investor's corporate structure, there may be disputes over whether the corporate veil should be pierced to hold individuals or related entities liable for contractual breaches or other wrongdoings.

On 19 April 2024, the Investment Treaty Forum brings together leading practitioners and scholars of international investment law, as well as representatives of governments and intergovernmental organisations to discuss these complex issues and related recent developments.

Dr Maria Chiara Malaguti, President of UNIDROIT (International Institute of Unification of Private Law) will deliver the keynote address. UNIDROIT is known for its work on harmonisation of contract law principles and it is currently working on a major project on investor-state contracts.

Join in the conversation @BIICL #ITFLaw #ISDS


09.00 - 09.30 | Registration with coffee & tea

09.30 - 09.45 | Welcome and Introduction

Professor Yarik Kryvoi

Prof. Yarik Kryvoi is Senior Research Fellow in International Economic Law and Director of the Investment Treaty Forum (ITF) at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL). He is also an Of Counsel at Keidan Harrison in London.

He holds law degrees from Harvard, Moscow, Nottingham, Utrecht and St Petersburg and is admitted to practice in the State of New York. Before moving to academia, he practiced international investment law with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington, DC and Baker & McKenzie in Saint Petersburg. He is the founding editor of the CIS Arbitration Forum and serves on editorial boards of several international legal periodicals.

Yarik is the course leader of the Institute's online course "International Investment Law and Dispute Resolution, available here.

09.45 - 10.15 | Keynote Address

Dr. Maria Chiara Malaguti

Dr. Maria Chiara Malaguti is President of UNIDROIT, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law. She is the first woman to hold this position. She is Full Professor of international law at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan/Rome, Italy). She specializes and acts as advisor in International and European Union Law applied to financial markets, in international investment law and most recently in all aspects related to sustainable development and social responsibility in cross-border companies. She also studies issues concerning harmonization and conflict of laws.

Furthermore, Maria Chiara is legal expert to the Legal Service of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation, also assisting the State legal team (Avvocatura dello Stato) in international investment arbitral disputes. She represents Italy in all current negotiations for ISDS reform, and contributed to the drafting of the latest version of Italy’s Model BIT and Member of the Italian Arbitration Committee and ADR ICC Italy, she is also an Italian delegate of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. She is currently chairperson of the UNCITRAL Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.

10.15 - 11.45 | Panel 1. Introduction, Applicable Law and Dispute Resolution

Samantha Rowe

Samantha Rowe is a Partner in the International Dispute Resolution and Business Integrity Groups at Debevoise & Plimpton in London whose practice focuses on international arbitration and public international law. Samantha has represented private clients and States across multiple jurisdictions (most notably, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe) in arbitrations governed by various substantive laws and conducted under the rules of the ICSID, UNCITRAL, SIAC, the ICC and the LCIA. She has experience across a broad range of industries and sectors, including energy, mining, construction, financial services and pharmaceuticals. She advises clients on a broad range of international law issues, including the international protection of investments, and represents her clients in associated disputes.

She is a highly active member of the arbitration and public international law communities. She serves on the Board of the Business and Human Rights Lawyers Association, is a member of the ICC’s Informal Working Group on Business and Human Rights, a member of the Executive Board of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution’s (ICDR) Young & International Group, a member of the ICDR's Advisory Council, is on the Editorial Board of the European Investment Law and Arbitration Review, and is on the Board of Reporters for the ITA Arbitration Report.

Antolín Fernández Antuña

Antolín Fernández Antuña is a seasoned professional in the arbitration field, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as an independent arbitrator and founder of Antuña & Partners.

Before launching his private practice in 2019, Antolín enjoyed a distinguished 15-year career in government service, initially as a tax inspector of multinational corporations and subsequently as counsel for the Kingdom of Spain. In this capacity, he designed and implemented the State's defense strategy in numerous ICSID, PCA, SCC, and UNCITRAL arbitration cases. Notably, he served as the lead counsel in the liability and quantum hearing of the largest renewable energy case, PV Investors v. Spain. Antolín's extensive industry experience encompasses key industries such as oil & gas, construction, infrastructure, mining, transportation, maritime, insurance, finance, telecommunications, and an array of renewable energy technologies (solar, onshore and offshore wind, hydroelectric). His significant impact in these sectors led to his recognition as “the most active arbitration practitioner in the field” by the Jus Mundi Electricity & Renewables Arbitration Report in 2022.

Prof. Aniruddha Rajput

Prof. Aniruddha Rajput is a Barrister and practices as a consultant with Withers LLP in London. He advises and appears on behalf of States and other public and private entities before international courts and tribunals across various areas of international law such as boundary disputes, law of the sea and investment arbitration. He is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the National University of Law, Delhi. He is a member of the Working Group on International Investment Contracts constituted by UNIDROIT with International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

He was a Member of the United Nations International Law Commission from 2017 to 2022, where he served as the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee at its 69th Session in 2017. The topic proposed by him Evidence Before International Courts and Tribunals was added to the Long Term Programme of Work of the International Law Commission and appended to the Report sent to the General Assembly. He is currently a visiting fellow and teaches courses on international investment arbitration and other areas of international law at the University of Vienna since 2022. Previously he was a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (2018-19) and Practitioner-in-residence at the KFG International Rule of Law – Rise of Decline? at Humboldt University in Berlin (2017). He was a member of the Study Group constituted by the Law Commission of India to revise the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty. He has published extensively across various areas of international law including investment arbitration.

Dr. Stuart Dutson

Dr. Stuart Dutson is the Global Co-head of Simmons & Simmons' International Arbitration Practice in London. Stuart has drafted complex choice of law clauses and multi-tier and multi-party arbitration and jurisdiction agreements for many transactions, including multi-million dollar M&A deals and international oil and gas projects in the Middle East, Nigeria, India and South America.

Stuart has conducted arbitrations under both common law and civil law in England, mainland Europe (including Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic), the Middle East, Africa and Australia. He has acted for and against parties from the UK, mainland Europe, Central Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia and Africa.

11.45 - 12.00 | Break

12.00 - 13.30 | Panel 2. Substantive Provisions in Investor-State Contracts

Jennifer Younan

Jennifer Younan is a Partner in the International Arbitration and the Public International Law practices and Head of the Paris Office. She is also a member of the firm’s Energy Innovation and Global Sanctions teams.

Jennifer has over 20 years of experience advising and representing companies, State-owned entities and States in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. Her experience covers a wide range of industry sectors and types of disputes, including energy, mining & metals, banking & finance, infrastructure/transportation and construction, as well as disputes arising from business combination transactions and general commercial matters. Jennifer has particular expertise in investment and energy-related disputes in emerging markets, as well as disputes having a Russian nexus, and is well known for advising on cutting-edge and topical issues in the field of public international law. She also sits as arbitrator.

Jennifer is a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR, the Editorial Board of the ICC Dispute Resolution Bulletin and the ICC Task Force on addressing issues of corruption in international arbitration. She is also an Officer of the LCIA European Users’ Council and a former Australian Government Delegate to the UNCITRAL Working Group II on Arbitration and Conciliation.

Graham Coop

Graham Coop is a Partner and Head of Public International Law and Co-head of ISDS at Pinsent Masons in London.

Graham advises and represents governments, international organisations and private entities on international disputes and major international projects. He focuses on energy, infrastructure and banking and advises on investor-State disputes, as well as public international law matters such as international treaties, international boundaries and sovereign immunity.

Lorenzo Cotula

Lorenzo Cotula is Principal Researcher and Head of Law, Economies and Justice Programme, Natural Resources Research Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in Edinburgh.

Lorenzo joined the IIED in 2002 and leads research and policy work on the place of law in strategies to promote fair, sustainable economies – cutting across land and natural resource governance; international economic law; law and transnational value chains; human rights; political economy of natural resources, trade and foreign investment; and legal empowerment, citizen agency and public accountability.

Prof. Ming Du

Ming Du is Professor in Chinese Law and the Co-Director of Global Policy Institute at Durham University. Prior to joining Durham in September 2019, he was Professor in Chinese & Comparative Law at University of Surrey from April 2016, and Reader in International Business Law at Lancaster University from September 2013. He was raised in China and completed his Chinese law training at Tsinghua University School of Law in Beijing. He holds an LLM from Harvard Law School, where he was a Victor and William Fung Fellow and a DPhil from University of Oxford (Brasenose College) where he was a Clarendon Scholar.

His current research focuses on the theoretical and structural issues of global economic governance (trade, investment and finance), China's approach to international law, and the development of the rule of law in contemporary China. He also retains a strong interest in corporate law and cross-border business transations in which he practiced as a qualified lawyer in both New York and Beijing for a number of years. He sits on editorial boards of Chinese Journal of International Law, the Journal of World Investment & Trade, Asia Pacific Law Review, and the Chinese Journal of Transnational Law.

13.30 - 14.30 | Lunch

14.30 - 16.00 | Panel 3. Interpretation, Parallel Proceedings and Counterclaims

Dr. Jaroslav Kudrna

Dr. Jaroslav Kudrna is the Head of the International Arbitration and Investment Protection Unit at the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic. He defends the Republic in investment arbitrations, negotiates BITs on its behalf and represents it in international forums, including UNCITRAL (WG III) and ECT Modernization Group.

Prior to joining the Ministry, Dr. Kudrna worked several years as an associate in the International Arbitration group of White & Case in New York where he focused on investment and commercial arbitration. He previously trained in leading law firms in Paris and Prague.

Dr. Kudrna obtained a PhD in public international law at Charles University in Prague, an LLM in International Business Regulation, Litigation and Arbitration at New York University and Masters of Laws at the University of Strasbourg and Sciences Po Paris. He regularly speaks and publishes on international arbitration topics. He handles matters in English, Czech and French, and has working knowledge of Spanish and Russian. Dr. Kudrna has passed the New York Bar and Paris Bar exams.

Dr. Yuliya Chernykh

Dr. Yuliya Chernykh is Associate Professor at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Yuliya researches questions related to the interpretation of legal texts (particularly, contract interpretation and treaty interpretation) and the intersections between national law and international law in international adjudication. She also works in the fields of contract law, international commercial law, international investment law, sports law, comparative law, legal theory, and legal history.

Prior to joining Inland Norway University in 2020, Yuliya hold visiting researcher positions at PluriCourts – Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order at the University of Oslo (PluriCourts), the University of Vienna, Copenhagen University (iCourts), Stockholm University, the Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law in Luxembourg, Heidelberg University, and the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (University of Cambridge).

She has received her PhD in international investment law and arbitration from the University of Oslo, LLM in international commercial arbitration from Stockholm University and LLB (together with specialist degree) from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She also has a postgraduate diploma in international trade law from the joint program organised by the University of Turin and the University Institute of European Studies (Italy) in cooperation with the ILO International Training Center and UNCITRAL.

Matthew Hodgson

Matthew Hodgson is a Partner at Allen & Overy in London and specialises in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration. He has acted as counsel and advocate in more than fifteen investment treaty disputes worldwide under the ICSID and UNCITRAL rules on behalf of investors and States. He is currently representing the Governments of Korea and Cambodia in four investment treaty claims, and acting for investors in claims against Myanmar and Nigeria.

He also acts as counsel and advocate in commercial disputes, including high value shareholder and post M&A disputes. He is a Solicitor Advocate, with Higher Rights of Audience before the Senior Courts of England & Wales and the Courts of Hong Kong, and a New York attorney. He has also sat as arbitrator in HKIAC, ICC, LCIA and SIAC claims.

Ridhi Kabra

Ridhi Kabra is a Senior Associate at Three Crowns' London office. Her experience includes advising clients in investment treaty and commercial arbitrations relating to taxation, oil and gas, infrastructure, and joint venture disputes. She has acted in several arbitrations under the ICSID, ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL Rules.

Ridhi holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and received her undergraduate degree in law from the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad, India. Ridhi has previously taught law at the University of Bristol, and held visiting positions at King’s College London (2017) and the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (2018).

16.00 - 16.15 | Concluding Remarks

Prof. Andrea Bjorklund

Andrea Bjorklund is a Full Professor and the L. Yves Fortier Chair in International Arbitration and International Commercial Law at McGill University Faculty of Law. In Winter 2018, she was a Plumer Fellow at St. Anne’s College and a Visiting Fellow in the Law Faculty, University of Oxford. In March 2019, she was elected a vice-president of the governing Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. In July 2019, she took up the role of Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) at McGill Law for a three-year mandate. In July 2022, she was appointed Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Scholar in Arbitration and Commercial Law for a third time.

In addition to serving as an adviser to the American Law Institute’s project on restating the U.S. law of international commercial arbitration, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the Investment Treaty Forum of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law. Professor Bjorklund was the inaugural ICSID Scholar-in-Residence for 2014-2015 and was Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook on International Investment Law and Policy (OUP) from 2012 to 2015. She sits on the panel of arbitrators of the AAA’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution and on the roster of NAFTA Chapter 19 arbitrators, and has joined the panel of arbitrators for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) for a six-year term. She was appointed by Canada’s Ministry of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development.

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This programme is subject to change.

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This is a hybrid conference, being held in person at the BIICL office in Russell Square, London and virtually.

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CPD Information

This event offers the equivalent of 6 CPD hours.


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