The book International Investment Law: Reconciling Policy and Principle represents the four-year work of Surya P. Subedi in a field of international law that has always held opposing visions from practitioners and academics. This book brings an analysis of international investment law as a subject of constant evolution, which is frequently challenged by a globalized world where non-traditional subjects of international law have to interact with domestic institutions such as authorities, regulations, and policies, inter alia.
The book briefly explains the historical evolution of some basic disciplines of international investment law, introducing the reader to the current context of the institutions of international investment law. In this section of the book, the author introduces the reader to the history of international investments and the relation of international investment law with some general principles of international public law.
From a reading of the book, one realizes that the author understands international investment law as a discipline that interacts with many other areas of international law. Thus, the author makes an important effort to establish the historical attempts to transform international investment relations to a multilateral scope. This part of the book is interesting, as the author shows that international trade and international investment law are bound to each other, and also that multilateral efforts to bind countries to investment regulations have not been as successful as custom and jurisprudence.
Starting in chapter three, the author manages to explain the main institutions of international investment law from a practical view, balanced with the theoretical aspects already recognized by prior authors. Hence, the book explains issues from a theoretical point of view but illustrates its positions and hypothesis through international cases. The author’s methodology is based on exploring international investment law from three sources and views of international law: (i) bilateral investment agreements; (ii) customary international law; and (iii) jurisprudence. The author dedicates one chapter to each source, and places emphasis on the minimum standard of treatment, expropriation, and common elements of bilateral investment treaties. The analysis on the aforementioned issues is dynamic as the author presents the trajectory of institutions and concludes with the current trends in that field.
In that light, the author concludes the book by explaining the current issues in international investment law from a global point of view, bringing to the discussion cases from many parts of the world. This chapter gives the reader an idea of the issues that most investors, academics, and governments from developing and developed countries are currently discussing and regulating, which the reader will find familiar after reading the previous chapters. The author concludes in the final chapter with his insights on potential measures that could be taken in order to address the matters articulated earlier, which the reader should judge by itself.
On the whole, the book is written in a pedagogic manner—the author uses short chapters allowing the reader time to reread any specific subject. However, the book assumes a certain basic knowledge of public and private international law. Lastly, as the book reviews issues that have already been explained, it also presents different perspectives on the same subject.
The book could be the best introductory manual to international protection to investment law for the student knowledgeable in general international law. It is a great tool for those who want to do a deeper study and understand the current issues regarding some disciplines in this area of knowledge. It is especially useful for the reader who is looking to learn about the existing developments in minimum standard of treatment and expropriation, its historical evolution, and its trend. The book is also a good guide to international cases on the subject, given its variety and extensive treatment. Judging from its title, I see a lack of discussion concerning policies to face the new challenges on international investment law. In general terms I recommend the book; I believe that it is easy to read, it is complete, and it raises relevant topics for the reader’s analysis.