Lunch seminar with Krzysztof Pelc

The treatment of foreign investment has become the most controversial issue in global governance.  At the centre of the controversy lies the mechanism of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which allows private firms legal recourse against governments, if  government interference has degraded their investment.  Using newly released data covering 742 investment disputes, I assess some of the central claims about ISDS. The regime has indeed undergone an important shift: a majority of claims today deal not with direct takings by low rule of law countries, but with regulation in democratic states. As I show, such "indirect expropriation" claims have seen a precipitous decrease in their odds of legal success over the past 20 years. They are also far less likely to result in early settlement. I argue that these parallel trends may be due to a rise in strategic litigation by investors, where the aim is not only to obtain compensation, but also to deter governments' regulatory ambitions. Using firm-level data, I then show that it is not large multinationals that appear most likely to engage in low-odds litigation, but medium-sized firms.

Krzysztof J. Pelc is Associate Professor at McGill University. He will be visiting iCourts from April 1st to May 15th, 2017.

During his stay, he will be working on and presenting parts of a project on recent developments in investor-state disputes. Specifically, he will be asking what explains the precipitous decline in the success of investment claims, and what effect the rise of third-party financing of investment disputes could have on government behaviour.

Registration: For participation in the event please use this registration form no later than 5 April, 11:00.

You are welcome to bring your own lunch bag.