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

Date: 8th March 2018

Time: 18:00 - 20:30

Venue: Jones Day (London), 21 Tudor Street, LONDON, EC4Y 0DJ

Event Details

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

Venue: Jones Day, 21 Tudor St, London EC4Y 0DJ

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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

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

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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.


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