Independence and Impartiality in Investment Dispute Settlement: Assessing Challenges and Reform Options

Chiara Giogetti, University of Richmond School of Law
Steven R. Ratner, University of Michigan Law School
Jeffrey Dunoff, Temple University Beasley School of Law
Shotaro Hamamoto, Kyoto University Graduate School of Law

Wants links for full-text to go via SSRN; ADDITIONAL AUTHORS (7 total): Luke Nottage (University of Sydney Law School), Stephan Schill (University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law), and Michael Waibel (University of Vienna Faculty of Law)


As discussions on the reform of investor-State dispute settlement deepen and gather momentum at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), this article delves into a specific and fundamental issue: the requirement that adjudicators in investment disputes are and remain independent and impartial. It begins by explaining the principle of independence and impartiality in international courts and tribunals, with a focus on arbitral institutions. The article then highlights a range of specific concerns that the present system of investor-State arbitration raises in respect of independence and impartiality. Finally, it provides a comparative analysis of how different reform proposals presently discussed within UNCITRAL Working Group III would fare in terms of delivering a dispute resolution mechanism that ensures independence and impartiality. Rather than providing one specific solution, this article assesses the different options discussed, with the aim to help both policy-makers considering reform and other stakeholders and scholars.