Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 05/2013

Common structures of investment law in an age of increasingly complex treaty-making

Stephan Schill, Marc Jacob

May 2013

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment


This Perspective challenges the idea that international investment agreements (IIAs) as a whole move from traditional “lean” (European-style) IIAs to re-calibrated “balanced” (North American-style) treaties. Instead, the IIA landscape is becoming increasingly multifaceted and complex, with different states following different models. This casts doubt on the idea that there are common structures underpinning investment treaties. Yet, there are a number of centripetal forces that hold investment law together at the level of principles and dispute settlement.