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Public Purpose in International Law
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Book description

This text explores how the public purpose doctrine reconciles the often conflicting, but equally binding, obligations that states have to engage in regulatory sovereignty while honoring host-state obligations to protect foreign investment. The work examines the multiple permutations and iterations of the public purpose doctrine and concludes that this principle needs to be reconceptualized to meet the imperatives of economic globalization and of a new paradigm of sovereignty that is based on the interdependence, and not independence, of states. It contends that the historical expression of the public purpose doctrine in customary and conventional international law is fraught with fundamental flaws that, if not corrected, will give rise to disparities in the relationship between investors and states, asymmetries with respect to industrialized nations and developing states, and, ultimately, process legitimacy concerns.


‘The authors give us a learned volume that is rich in its reference to practice, masterfully broad in its reach to associated fields, and unusually deep in its reflection on how a complex river of judicial decisions and international and national instruments is shaping the course of what we will come to know as public purpose.’

David Caron - Dean, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London

‘This book seeks a nuanced and novel approach to the vexed issue of the conflict between regulatory sovereignty of the state and the protection of foreign investment through the public purpose doctrine. It reworks the public policy doctrine in international law removing the identified flaws in the doctrine so that it could become a meaningful instrument for maintaining ‘equipoise’ between the two contending interests in international investment law. Through the doctrine, the authors seek to answer issues that arise from the contested legitimacy of investment arbitration. The insights that the work brings to public international law, investment arbitration and international investment law will enlighten the course of development of a difficult and confused area of the law for many years to come.’

M. Sornarajah - C. J. Koh Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore

'[This book] is certainly one of the most valuable contributions to the much-heated and at times unnecessarily emotional debate about the right balance to be struck between the regulatory space of States and investment protection.'

J. Ostransky Source: Transnational Dispute Management

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