Non-Adjudicatory State-State Mechanisms in Investment Dispute Prevention and Dispute Settlement: Joint Interpretations, Filters and Focal Points

Catharine Titi


The last 30 years in the history of international investment law witnessed the emergence of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as the definitive method for the resolution of investment disputes, and the expanding role of the investor in the same. Investment dispute settlement has become largely synonymous with a system that involves an investor, often private entity, in international arbitration against its host state. States, in this same setting, are relegated to the role of respondent. But despite the predominant role of the investor, some mechanisms involving both states (host state and home state of the investor) do exist. Some of these mechanisms, such as state-state dispute settlement and binding interpretations, have been used for years. Others, such as national contact points or ombudsmen, are newer. As investment law enters a new era of reflection with the functioning of the current ISDS machinery at its centre, some of the efforts at reforming international investment law focus on enhancing the role of the state in investment dispute settlement and add to the popularity of some of these mechanisms. The article critically explores three ‘soft’ non-adjudicatory approaches to the prevention or resolution of investment disputes that belong to the sphere of state-to-state procedures and have gained currency in recent years: joint interpretive statements, including subsequent agreement or practice under general public international law and clarifications through diplomatic notes and periodic review of treaty content; filter mechanisms; and focal points or ombudsmen.

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ISSN 2236-997X (impresso) - ISSN 2237-1036 (on-line)

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