Whether considered “wholly distinct, autonomous, or even antagonistic legal domains” or seen as two sets of legal regimes belonging to the same legal system with “meaningful relationships between them”, the international law of investments and the law of human rights appear to have in the practice of arbitration, an uneasy, tense, strained, relationship.  

For some commentators, public international law (of which human rights is a part) and international investment law would have “structural differences” which have led investment tribunals to grant precedence to the contractual rules that have been agreed upon by host states and investors.   For others, human rights, are “a marginal issue in investment law”, “peripheral at best”, to fulfil “no more than an ancillary role in the settlement of investor-state disputes”.  

This talk looks into the fundamental relationship between human rights and investment law in the wake of the recent Philip Morris v Uruguay case.   In doing so it addresses questions such as: are human rights and investment arbitration animals of a different nature? Are human rights arbitrable within an investment claim?


Monica Feria-Tinta is a barrister at 20 Essex Street Chambers, practising in public international law, conflict of laws, energy and natural resources, and international arbitration.  

She acts for States, international organisations, and private parties before domestic courts in England (at all levels) and in international courts. She has particular specialisation in public international law, having broad experience both as counsel and as adviser in international litigation before international courts and tribunals as well as an adviser in non-contentious matters. Her expertise covers all areas across the field of public international law including sources, jurisdictions, immunities, treaty law, law of the sea, international criminal law, international humanitarian law (laws of war), State Responsibility, Use of Force, international human rights law, expropriation and international investment law.  In addition to both domestic and international litigation, Monica acts in investment and commercial international arbitrations across a range of sectors under a variety of arbitration rules (ICSID, UNCITRAL, SIAC, SCC, ICC) and applicable laws. She has particular expertise in arbitration involving sovereign States (and State-owned/controlled enterprises). Her practice also covers Inter-State arbitration cases. 

Monica is dually trained in the common law and civil law systems and the first Latin American lawyer admitted to and in practice at, the Bar of England & Wales. She holds an LLM with merit from the LSE (where she was teaching assistant to Judge Christopher Greenwood (then Principal Professor) in Public International Law) and was awarded the diploma of The Hague Academy of International Law. Prior to the Bar Monica worked for the ICJ, ICTY and appeared as counsel before the Inter-American Court and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, leading ground-breaking cases. Her litigation work was awarded the 2006 Inge Genefke Prize and the 2007 Gruber Justice Prize.  


PIL Lunchtime Discussion Group Series Michaelmas Term 2016.

The Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.

The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms in The Old Library, All Souls College, with lunch commencing at 12:30. The speaker will commence at 12:45 and speak for about forty minutes, allowing about twenty five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude before 2:00.

Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. No RSVP is necessary.

The discussion group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.

To join the Public International Law Discussion Group email list, which offers details of all events and other relevant information, send a message to: pil-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk . (You do not need to write any text in the body of the message, or even put anything in the Subject: line unless your mailer insists on it.) You will be sent a confirmation request, and once you reply to that, a message confirming your subscription. Alternatively, email Jenny Hassan to be added to the PIL mail list.

Convenors of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group are Patricia Jimenez Kwast and Nikiforos Panagis.

Kindly sponsored by the ILA - British Branch and Oxford University Press.