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This chapter discusses the classification of digital services using the GATS services classification system. The chapter first elaborates on how services are classified under the GATS and the role of the evolutionary approach, the customary rules of treaty interpretation, the existence of integrated services and the focus on outputs. The chapter subsequently distinguishes between three classification methodologies (the textual approach, the component-based approach and the teleological approach) and explains why the technological approach to services classification is preferable. The teleological approach is then applied to examples of both digital infrastructure services and digitally enabled services. The chapter elaborates on the distinction between transmission and content, the confusion on how to classify ‘new’ services and the misplaced focus on the service suppliers’ revenue source. This chapter thereby proposes a clear and consistent classification methodology that allows for straightforward classification of digital services.
The doctrine and case law on expropriation in international investment law (IIL) is an unsettled area due to a variety of factors such as the diversity of interests between capital-importing and capital-exporting states, the divergence in legal, economic and cultural concepts of property rights, and, more importantly, the regulatory role of the state in cross-border investment activities. Although China has been an active “treaty-maker” in the universe of international investment arbitration, evidenced by its nearly 130 BITs, the notion of expropriation in these BITs is in a state of flux. This chapter scrutinizes the expropriation clauses in China’s BITs, in particular the Peru–China BIT and the Peru–China FTA, by reference to the final award of Tza Yap Shum v. The Republic of Peru, the first Chinese BIT arbitration case. This chapter attempts, in a comparative context, to understand the underlying rationality of China’s evolving stance on expropriation in both global and domestic contexts.
This chapter challenges the representations of international law that dominate the turn to history. The vision of international law as metaphysically grounded and of lawyers as scholastics or moralising judges is resonant because it shores up a familiar fantasy. Yet that vision bears little relation to the ways in which contemporary international lawyers use the past in the practice of making legal arguments. This chapter explores the indeterminacy and capaciousness of the past materials out of which international legal arguments are assembled and the varied roles lawyers are trained to adopt in making such arguments. It shows that international lawyers are already immersed in a centuries-long debate over the grounds of law’s authority, into which historicising techniques and anti-metaphysical approaches have long been incorporated. Many influential forms of international legal thought, including legal realism, positivism, critical legal studies, and game theory, have been informed by an anti-metaphysical orientation. Far from being a revolutionary insight, the claim that historicising a text can settle its meaning is just one of many claims that are already part of the broader argumentative world of international lawyers, and no more likely than any other to resolve interpretative controversies or offer the truth of legal history.
Canadian commitments under trade and investment treaties have been an ongoing concern for Indigenous peoples. The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is the first Canadian treaty to include a general exception for measures that a party state “deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to [I]ndigenous peoples.” This exception is likely to afford Canada broad, but not unlimited, discretion to determine what its legal obligations to Indigenous peoples require. There is a residual risk that Canada’s reliance on the exception could be challenged through the CUSMA dispute settlement process. A CUSMA panel would not have the expertise necessary to decide inevitably complex questions related to what Canada’s legal obligations to Indigenous peoples require. While state-to-state cases under the North American Free Trade Agreement have been rare, a CUSMA panel adjudication regarding the Indigenous general exception risks damaging consequences for Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.
International organisations are inherently purposive actors within the international legal system, created and empowered by States to pursue finite common objectives. This teleological dimension has come to play a prominent role in the way in which international law rationalises international organisations, with their purposes given a significant, often determinative, role in delimiting their competences. This article argues that this is the product of a conscious shift in legal reasoning that took place in the aftermath of World War II. Through an analysis of a series of key post-War decisions, it identifies the common features of this ‘teleological turn’ and, disentangling it from other forms of legal reasoning, examines its unique underlying logic and normative claims. It demonstrates that while the teleological turn offers prospects for the systemic development of international governance, an increasingly abstract approach to the concept and identification of an organisation's ‘purpose’ raises a number of unresolved questions which cast a shadow of indeterminacy over the law of international organisations.
Does judicial interpretation of IIAs produce epistemic ‘authority’? Interpretation can mean both the process of finding out what texts mean and guidance to the concretisation of abstract general norms in individual instances. In the second sense, interpretation is subconsciously used to narrow the freedom of deciders; a range of interpretative tools is used to generate a quasi-formal unity of meaning across IIAs. Systemic integration is the most used and most potent tool. It enjoins us to assume that meanings are identical, but this is baseless: taking into account external rules could just as easily be the basis for a divergence. However, customary law is less certain and precise than assumed. From the perspective of peer-accepted reasoning-before-decision, the interpreter takes meanings, not external rules, into account. Arbitral tribunals in fact interpret IIAs in light not of a customary norm but of other investment tribunals’ understanding of the meaning of other treaty norms. On that perspective, there is no distinction between interpretative tools. Interpretation cannot unify investment law because it does not change the law, only certain brute facts.
Expropriation is a hotly debated issue in international investment law. This is the first study to provide a detailed analysis of its norm-theoretical dimension, setting out the theoretical foundations underlying its understanding in contemporary legal scholarship and practice. Jörg Kammerhofer combines a doctrinal discussion with a theoretical analysis of the structure of the law in this area, undertaking a novel approach that critically re-evaluates existing case-law and writings. His approach critiques the arguments for a single expropriation norm based on custom, interpretation and arbitral precedents within international investment law, drawing also on generalist international legal thought, to show that both cosmopolitan and sovereigntist arguments are largely political, not legal. This innovative work will help scholars to understand the application of theory to investment law and help specialists in the field to improve their arguments.
It examines an issue of treaty interpretation arising from a moment’s reflection on the dispute settlement mechanisms established in UNCLOS. Those mechanisms, with primarily the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Arbitral Tribunals established under Annex VII of the Convention making waves in recent times, are designed solely to deal with disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention. Any dispute that may eventually seize those mechanisms for solution will be primarily related to treaty interpretation. Besides, while hugely important, UNCLOS does not provide for all matters in the oceans. The chapter tries to investigate what should be done in interpreting the UNCLOS, if it is silent on matters indispensable for proper interpretation of some of its rules.
This contribution focuses on the Court of Justice of the European Union (Court or CJEU) reliance on international law in cases involving economic agreements covering occupied territories. In its earlier case law, the Court adopted a formalistic approach by ignoring the broader international legal framework of the dispute in an effort to achieve conformity with international law, while at the same time avoiding being drawn into political storms. The article continues by identifying an even more worrisome trend in the Court’s latest judgments in the Front Polisario and Western Sahara Campaign UK cases. In these two cases the Court showed its willingness to stretch the international rules of treaty interpretation to a breaking point in order to avoid pronouncing on the politically sensitive question of the de facto application of the EU’s agreements with Morocco in the territory of Western Sahara. The article concludes by asserting that the Court’s line of argumentation brings another dimension to the Völkerrechtsfreundlichkeit debate. The classical, binary understanding of the Court’s approach as ‘open/hostile’ to international law only provides us with a partial picture of how international law was actually used in these cases. The Court’s apparent willingness to rely on international law as a heuristic device to reinforce an outcome that radically departs from the logic and structure of international law and international legal argumentation requires a more in-depth engagement with both the content of the international law rules invoked in those judgments and with the Court’s use of such rules.
Chapter 2 addresses the legitimacy of intervention by international courts – unelected international bodies – in the decisions of democratically elected domestic officials. The chapter starts by delineating the commitment of international courts to the text of treaties that regulate their jurisdiction. It continues by explaining when expansive interpretation of these treaties is legitimate because the process of negotiation or revision of treaties gives certain countries an unjustified power to limit the treaty obligations of all member countries. Finally, the chapter explains that even if a country fully controls its treaty obligations it may not properly represent the interests of all parties affected by the treaty because of so-called democratic failures, justifying the use of expansive interpretation by international courts.
On October 30, 2018, the South Korean Supreme Court, in an 11–2 decision, upheld the judgment of the lower court, which ordered New Nippon Steel Corporation, a Japanese company, to provide KRW 100 million (approximately USD 84,000) in compensation to each of the four plaintiffs, who were forced to work at Japanese steel mills during World War II. In an earlier 2012 decision, the Supreme Court remanded the case after holding that the claims were not precluded by the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and the Economic Cooperation Between the Republic of Korea and Japan (Claims Agreement). The Supreme Court held that the Claims Agreement was not a result of negotiation about compensation for Japanese colonization, but rather was a political agreement the purpose of which was to resolve the financial and civil debt/credit relationship between Korea and Japan. On the final appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that plaintiffs’ claims were directly related to the illegality of Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula and that the rights of the victims of forced labor to make a compensation claim did not fall within the scope of the Claims Agreement.
In a variety of investment arbitration cases, respondent States have argued that measures impugned by investors were mandated by that State's human rights obligations. Tribunals have generally been reluctant to engage with such arguments and to interpret the relationship between investment law and human rights in a straightforward manner. This article discusses two other possibilities: harmonious interpretation and prioritization. Harmonious interpretation seeks to read provisions from investment treaties and human rights treaties together, whereas prioritization gives normative superiority to one provision over another. We conclude that harmonious interpretation is facilitated by the discretionary character of common treaty standards in both human rights and investment law, but that the final result is unlikely to be very different from prioritization, because even harmonious interpretation requires that one provision is read in the light of, and thereby subjugated to, the other.
The rules of treaty interpretation are ordinarily met with scepticism not only by critically-minded international law theorists, but also by mainstream international legal scholars who otherwise believe in international law’s normative power. The objective of this article is to inquire whether, despite their much-discussed shortcomings, the rules of treaty interpretation have any ‘cash value’ in the sense given to this expression by one of the founding fathers of the philosophy of pragmatism William James, in other words, whether they make any practical difference. To do so, this article revisits the traditional understanding of the rules of treaty interpretation and argues that they cannot directly bridge the gap between the signifier and signified, but rather are designed to impose a ‘common discipline’ with respect to the admissible means that can be used in treaty interpretation.
The article discusses the increasing use by international courts and tribunals of domestic explanatory materials—such as various statements, reports, and explanatory memoranda that usually complement the domestic approval of treaties—in the process of treaty interpretation. After examining the types of materials that can be used as interpretative aids in accordance with the general rules on treaty interpretation (Articles 31–32 VCLT), the article scrutinizes the various ways in which domestic explanatory materials have informed the interpretation of treaty provisions in the practice of international adjudicatory bodies. The analysis focuses on the legal grounds on which such materials have been admitted in the interpretative process, the reasons for which resort has been made to them by the adjudicating body, as well as the circumstances in which such documents have been invoked by the litigating parties. The article then discusses certain advantages and disadvantages stemming from the use of domestic explanatory materials in the interpretative process.
On December 21, 2016, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) dismissed an action brought by the Front Polisario challenging a decision of the Council of the European Union (EU) approving the conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom Morocco on the reciprocal liberalization of certain agricultural products. The CJEU held, based on the relevant rules of international law applicable between the EU and Morocco, that the agreement did not apply to the territory of Western Sahara. Apart from its obvious political overtones, the judgment is significant in further developing the CJEU's approach to the law of treaties and the principle of self-determination in international law.
In this trio of decisions, the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court) rejected applications in which a small island state claimed that three larger states known to possess nuclear weapons had breached their international obligations to undertake and conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. The Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Court acknowledged, had been the location of repeated nuclear weapons testing from 1946 to 1958, when the United States administered the archipelagic nation under the trusteeship system of the United Nations. The Court further recognized that the applicant, “by virtue of the suffering which its people endured as a result of it being used as a site for extensive nuclear testing programs, has special reasons for concern about nuclear disarmament” (para. 44). Nevertheless, it ruled that the cases could not go forward because the requisite legal dispute was absent at the time that the Marshall Islands filed its applications against India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom.
International humanitarian law establishes explicit safeguards applicable to detention occurring in non-international armed conflict. However, debate exists as to whether these treaty provisions establish an implicit legal basis for detention. This article approaches this debate in light of the application of international humanitarian law to non-state armed groups. It examines the principal arguments against implicit detention authority and then applies the law of treaty interpretation to international humanitarian law's detention-related provisions. On the basis of current understandings of international law – and the prohibition of arbitrary detention in particular – it is concluded that international humanitarian law must be interpreted as establishing implicit detention authority, in order to ensure the continued regulation of armed groups. Although, perhaps, problematic from certain states’ perspective, this conclusion is reflective of the current state of international law. However, this is not necessarily the end of the story. A number of potential ‘ways forward’ are identified: implicit detention authority may be (i) rejected; (ii) accepted; or (iii) re-examined in light of the non-state status of armed groups, and what this means for the content of the prohibition of arbitrary detention. These scenarios are examined in light of the desire to ensure: the coherency of international law including recognition of the role of armed groups, the continued effectiveness of international humanitarian law, and state sovereignty. An emphasis is placed on understanding the non-state status of armed groups and what this means for international regulation and the content of imposed obligations.