What explains the rise of investor-state arbitration? To the extent that investor-state arbitration had founding fathers, what were their motivations, what constraints did they have, what was their thinking? Using documents from the American, British, German, and Swiss archives, this talk will revisit three moments: the initial vision for a standalone arbitration convention (the ICSID Convention), European governments’ decisions to add consent to arbitration into their investment treaties, and America’s late embrace of investor-state arbitration. Revisiting these moments with internal documents suggests a need to rethink conventional narratives about who and what drove the development of investor-state arbitration.
Taylor St John is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of St Andrews. She researches the history and politics of investment law. Her monograph, The Rise of Investor-State Arbitration: Politics, Law, and Unintended Consequences, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. She is currently researching ISDS reform processes, and co-authors the EJIL Talk! blogs on the UNCITRAL negotiations with Professor Anthea Roberts. She was previously Postdoctoral Research Fellow, PluriCourts, University of Oslo and before that, Fellow in International Political Economy, London School of Economics. She received a DPhil and MSc from the University of Oxford.


The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch and is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. 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. Join the PIL Email List to receive information about the PIL Discussion Group meetings, as well as other PIL@Oxford news.
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 will follow. Alternatively, you can send an email to Jenny Hassan to be added to the PIL mailing list.
Convenors of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group are Sachintha Dias Mudalige and Eirini Fasia.
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.