LLAW6230 & JDOC6230


1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6230 / JDOC6230
Course name: Law and Practice of Investment Treaty Arbitration
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits
Cap on student numbers: To be advised

1.2 Course description

The course covers international arbitration between foreign investors (companies or individuals) and their host states to settle claims arising from the alleged breach of standards laid down in bilateral or multilateral treaties protecting foreign investment. There are now more than 3,300 of such treaties, a total of more than 1,000 investor-state cases that have so far been brought before international arbitral tribunals. Investment treaty arbitration has become one of the most dynamic (but also controversial) areas of transnational law.

As the compensation claims concern large sums of money, global law firms are particularly interested in competing in this evolving field of international legal business. Due to the involvement of a state and the relevant treaty provisions, investor-state dispute settlement has distinct elements compared to international commercial arbitration and combines features of private dispute settlement, international law and public policy concerns.

The course begins with an overview of the history, economics and policy of investment treaty law and investment dispute resolution, as well as the main institutions and instruments. The next part looks at issues relating to jurisdiction and admissibility in investor-state arbitral disputes. The course then addresses the main substantive guarantees laid down in treaties, such as compensation for expropriation, fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, national treatment, most-favoured-nation treatment, and so-called “umbrella clauses” protecting rights of foreign investors that may be stipulated, for example, in investment contracts with the host state or its agencies.

After turning to procedural aspects, including the review and enforcement of arbitral awards, it further discusses various points of general criticism made against the current investment treaty arbitration system and possible reforms (including the EU proposal for a multilateral investment court). The course finally takes a more specific look at the Asian context, with emphasis on the relevant practice of Mainland China (including the importance for the One Belt One Road initiative) and Hong Kong.

A basic knowledge of international law and/or international arbitration would be beneficial, but it is not a prerequisite for the course.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Alec Stone Sweet asweet@hku.hk CCT 903 By email


2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Demonstrate an awareness of how investor-State dispute settlement has evolved and how it differs from international commercial arbitration and inter-state arbitration.

CLO 2 Describe and explain various treaty-based standards for the protection of foreign investors.

CLO 3 Describe and explain the different approaches to, or odels of, investor-state dispute settlement adopted in UK, French, US, sian (etc.) treaties.

CLO 4 Apply the evolving jurisprudence of arbitration tribunals

CLO 5 Develop a general awareness of how arbitrations are conducted e.g. under the CSID Rules (and dditional Facility Rules .

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link: https://course.law.hku.hk/llm-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
To be advised TBA 100% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf


4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 5 hours (ie. 150 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).


5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/