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Wildy’s Book News

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Vol 25 No 2 Feb/March 2020

Book of the Month

Cover of Kerr & Hunter on Receivers and Administrators

Kerr & Hunter on Receivers and Administrators

Edited by: Thomas Robinson, Peter Walton
Price: £315.00

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The Trouble with Foreign Investor Protection


ISBN13: 9780198866213
To be Published: October 2020
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £30.00



Governments are rightly discussing reform of investment treaties, and of the incredibly powerful system of 'investor-state dispute settlement' (ISDS) upon which they rest. At their core, ISDS treaties are flawed because they very firmly institute wealth-based inequality under international law. In this book, Van Harten explores these claims in the light of the history of early ISDS treaties showing their ties to decolonization and, at times, extreme violence and authoritarianism. Focusing on early ISDS lawsuits and rulings, it is revealed how a small group of lawyers and arbitrators worked to create the legal foundations for massive growth of ISDS since 2000. ISDS-based protections are examined in detail to demonstrate how they give exceptional advantages to the wealthy. Various examples are also offered of how the protections have been used to reconfigure state decision-making and shift sovereign minds in favour of foreign investors. Lastly, the ongoing efforts of governments to reform ISDS are surveyed, with a call to go further or, best of all, to withdraw from the treaties. This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to know more about the shady world of investment protection.