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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: International Investment Law (Honours) (LAWS10199)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryInternational Investment Law has become a very important area of public international law and extremely popular among young practitioners and academics. As states strive to attract foreign investment as a driver for development, the law of investment protection has evolved through, both: i) the negotiation of some 3000 international investment agreements (IIAs) currently concluded, and ii) the development of its unique dispute settlement mechanism, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). However, after a backlash against ISDS and the legitimacy of IIAs, international investment law is currently going through profound changes and reforms. This course provides an introduction and general overview to these two aspects of international investment law. It starts with a general overview of the investment regime and its public and private divide. It then addresses procedural and substantive provisions of IIAs. Students will consider the main standards of protection incorporated in IIAs, most-favoured national treatment, national treatment, fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security and expropriation with compensation. Through the analysis of different IIAs and the reflection on the decisions of arbitral tribunals, students are expected to discuss the adequacy of investment provisions vis a vis states' regulatory freedom. The course ends with a discussion of the legitimacy and efficacy of the investment regime, and an assessment of the reforms proposed.
Course description The course progresses in content and complexity as student get acquainted with this area of law. The instructor will provide reading materials for preparation of the class, but as the course develops students will be expected to find additional sources and share them in class.

The basic content of the course includes:

- Historical introduction to international investment law
- International Investment Agreements (including bilateral investment treaties (BITs), multilateral investment treaties (MITs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)).
- Investor-State dispute settlement
- Standards of treatment in international investment law
- Expropriation
- An assessment of the legitimacy and efficacy of the investment protection regime.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  32
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 90 %, Coursework 10 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10% Class Participation; 90% Examination
Feedback Students will receive oral feedback during seminars in response to their participation in class. They will also receive oral feedback during seminars for their performance in class exercises.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:15
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand, assess and identify general principles of international investment law and related dispute settlement mechanisms.
  2. Put in practice new research skills in order to locate and read relevant materials, including investment treaties and arbitral awards, as well as skills in the critical analysis of these materials - by the end of the course, students will be able to build a reasoned argument concerning the interpretation and applciation of key provisions of investment treaties.
  3. Carry out independent and group work during the course, both in preparing for class and during class exercises.
  4. Participate in class discussions and make presentations on key issues, thereby developing key communication skills - by the end of the course, students will be confident to take part in discussions on the subject of international investment law.
Reading List
Reading lists include traditional textbooks. Students will begiven a choice of textbooks to prepare for each seminar. Students will be also asked to read cases and materials available online.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - An advanced knowledge and understanding of the core of international investment law, covering both investment treaties and dispute settlement;
- An ability to critically assess the role of investment law in regulating the treatment of investors and the regulatory autonomy of States, and to evaluate possible reforms;
- An ability to critically analyse international investmentagreements, the most important arbitration rules and the decision of arbitral tribunals, and reflect on their implications;
- An ability to engage with contemporary legal and policy debates on international investment law.
- An ability to carry out independent research and work in preparation for the seminars and the final assessment.
KeywordsInternational Law,Investment Law,International Trade,Investment Agreements,Dispute Settlement
Course organiserMrs Ana Maria Daza Vargas
Course secretaryMiss Emma Hughes
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008
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