Conceptualizing the Shapeshifting Nature of Investment Law(yers)

Within international law, international investment law (IIL) has become one of the topics that is en vogue. This follows on the heels of two interrelated developments. First, the proliferation of international investment agreements (IIA), most in the form of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), others forming part of more encompassing trade and investment agreements. Second, following this increase in investment protection for investors, there has been a surge of cases that have been adjudicated before international investment tribunals.

The increasing practical importance of IIL has been accompanied by a (still) growing number of academic contributions. Adding to this literature is Jason Yackee’s Controlling the International Investment Law Agency, which makes an important contribution to this field—while steering clear of the controversy over whether the system is overly friendly towards investors. This brief comment will first outline the main arguments of Yackee’s article (I.) and then critique some of the arguments it makes, specifically around whether there is indeed a functional IIL agency and Yackee’s comparative analysis with domestic administrative agencies (II.), before offering some concluding remarks (III.).

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