International investment law, dispute settlement and human rights

Struttura insegnamento e programma

Edizione attiva
The course is designed to acquaint students with a comprehensive view of the international legal sources, principles, rules and praxis which govern foreign direct investment (hereinafter 'FDI'). FDI represents one of the most relevant legal and economic phenomena of the last decades at an international level. It encompasses some of the most strategic industrial and economic activities worldwide (e.g., in the field of energy, telecommunication, financial activities, constructions, environment, shipping). It can be defined as an economic operation made by an investor (a physical or legal person) based in one country (the home state) into a company, entity or undertaking based in another country (the host state), over which the investor has a significant degree of influence and control. FDI may take many forms, such as a direct acquisition of a foreign firm, the setting up of a subsidiary or an associate company in the host state, the construction of a facility, joint ventures or other strategic alliances with local firms with attendant input of technology, licensing technology transfer, reciprocal distribution agreements, and so on.

The increased flow of FDI worldwide has prompted governments, international organizations and the private sector to adopt substantive legal rules and to establish international or regional bodies and procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The regulation of FDI and the settlement of disputes arising out of it face several challenges. First, the parties involved operate at different levels - sovereign states and other public entities, on one hand; (multinational) corporations, on the other hand. Second, the rules on FDI must interact with the international law rules providing for the protection of the most fundamental human and labour rights and the environment. Striking a balance between investors' rights and the public essential interests affected by the realization of the investments is often complex.

The course aims at examining this interaction, addressing 3 main areas, one focusing on the principles and rules which govern FDI (standards of treatment established by treaties, customary international law, domestic law and international contracts), another one dealing with the mechanisms of peaceful settlement of investment disputes between private investors and States (court proceedings, mediation, arbitration, diplomatic protection), and the third one focusing on the relationship and tensions between the protection of foreign investments and of common concerns (human rights, environmental protection, labour rights, artistic, cultural, and historic heritage, corporate social responsibility of multinational corporations).

Each area will be addressed not only from a theoretical point of view, but also through the lens of the most relevant arbitral and judicial case law.
Informazioni sul programma
Moot courts and internships
The attendance to the course is positively assessed in light of the students' recruitment process for the different legal competitions sponsored by our University (such as the Wilelm C. Vis Moot Court Competition in Vienna (, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (, as well as for the professional internships abroad within the Erasmus Placement Programme.
Prerequisiti e modalità di esame
The final mark will consist in an overall assessment of the activities carried out by each student throughout the course. Those students who do not accept that assessment can register for an oral colloquium during the official exam sessions.
Metodi didattici
The attendance to the course is compulsory. Only students who attend at least 75% of the course are admitted to take the final exam.
The course will combine frontal lessons, seminars held by experienced specialists, and interactive and innovative teaching methodologies (based on the active participations of students through individual or collective contributions in the form of presentations, summaries or prepared discussions, practical sessions of written and oral legal advocacy, simulation of proceedings before different adjudicatory bodies, moot courts and mock trials). Advance reading and regular preparation are necessary prerequisite for the successful participation in the course.
Materiale didattico e bibliografia
Lectures will be mainly based on specific reading materials indicated prior to each lesson. Here below some suggested texts, which might be referred to for the preparation of the exam.

· Bishop, Reisman, Crawford, Foreign Investment Disputes: Cases, Materials and Commentary, Kluwer, 2005.

· Dolzer, Schreuer, Principles of International Investment Law, Oxford, 2008.

· Douglas, Pauwelyn, Viñuales (eds.), The foundations of international investment law: bringing theory into practice, New York, 2014.

· Dupuy, Francioni, Petersmann (eds.), Human Rights in International Investment Law and Arbitration, Oxford, 2009.

· Muchlinski, Ortino, Schreuer (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Investment Law, Oxford, 2008.

· Sacerdoti (ed.), with Acconci, Valenti, De Luca, General Interests of Host States in International Investment Law, Cambridge, 2014.

· Schreuer, Malintoppi, Reinisch, Sinclair, The ICSID Convention: a Commentary on the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, 2. ed., Cambridge, 2009.

· Tanzi, Cristani (eds.), International Investment Law and Arbitration, Bologna, 2013.

· Treves, Seatzu, Trevisanut (eds.), Foreign Investment, International Law and Common Concerns, London, 2013.
Secondo semestre
Secondo semestre
Modalità di valutazione
Giudizio di valutazione
voto verbalizzato in trentesimi
Mercoledì ore 15.30 / attualmente sospeso per congedo maternità
Dipartimento diritto pubblico italiano e sovranazionale - sezione diritto internazionale - piano terra
Giovedì ore 11.00