Advanced insight into Ciarb’s 2023 Alexander Lecture

International Investment Arbitration and the Search for Depoliticisation delivered by Toby Landau KC C.Arb FCIArb. 

In his lecture on 8 November, Toby will examine the role of depoliticisation in the genesis, development and justification of international investment arbitration, subject this concept to a detailed critical analysis, and evaluate it as a guide in charting the future of this field. 

Why have you chosen to speak on the subject of  International Investment Arbitration and the Search for Depoliticisation at this year’s Alexander Lecture? 

The role of politics in international dispute resolution is both fascinating and complex. But despite its importance, it is rarely addressed head-on. In particular, the debate on the future of investor-state arbitration and its possible reform rages on. But much of the current thinking fails to grapple with the broader geo-political setting in which this form of dispute resolution was created and in which it now subsists. This lecture will present a deep dive into the role of politics in the genesis of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), analyse the critical part that politics continues to play, assess how ISDS itself negatively impacts the Rule of Law and put forward a fundamentally different course for possible reform.   

What makes this subject the thing to talk about (of all the things that we could talk about)? 

The future of ISDS remains one of the critical issues in international arbitration. This is in part because of the extraordinary impact that treaty disputes have in the shaping of national policies and in part because current reform initiatives have opened the way for a radical re-think. This is a field that is now being re-shaped, and given its critical relationship with the Rule of Law, it is of utmost importance that as many as possible are engaged in this process.      

Why should people involved in other dispute resolution disciplines come to this lecture? 

There is a thin line between ISDS and other forms of international arbitration. Many of the issues that are now being debated in relation to treaty arbitration also have importance for other types of dispute resolution. 

What can delegates expect to take away from the lecture? 

A fresh and fundamentally different perspective on the role of international arbitration and its future.    

Toby Landau KC is a barrister, advocate and arbitrator, and a member of the Bars of England & Wales, Singapore, New York, the BVI and Northern Ireland. He is also registered in the DIFC. He practises in Singapore from Duxton Hill Chambers (Singapore Group Practice) and in London as a sole practitioner. Read Toby's full biography. 

Ciarb’s 2023 Alexander Lecture will be delivered on 8 November 2023 from 18:00 to 20:00 GMT. 

Virtual attendance is free of charge. In-person attendance at Ciarb Headquarters in London is discounted for Ciarb members. Tickets are strictly limited, so book early. 

Register now.