LLM Public International Law

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
International Investment Law

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS72042
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module deals with the law relating to international investment. In other words, the course deals with international law relating to foreign direct investment or the activities of multinational corporations abroad. It introduces students to sources of investment law as well as distinctive features of international investment law as a branch of international law. In doing so, the course will explore key contemporary issues in international investment law. The course pays particular attention to the handling of disputes between investors and investment host states and the backlash against investment treaty arbitration in recent years.


  • To provide an understanding of the substantive rules governing international investment;
  • To provide an understanding of the distinctive features of investment law as well as sources of investment law;
  • To provide an understanding of the content of investment and who can be an investor;
  • To provide an understanding of the key standards of protection available to international investment;
  • To foster an understanding of the security provided to both investors and host state by both bilateral investment treaties and multilateral treaties with investment provisions;
  • To craft an understanding of the nexus between investment and economic development of host states;
  • To provide an understanding of how international investment disputes are settled;
  • To build students’ capacity for theoretical and empirical apprehension of the role played by international investment dispute settlement mechanisms in curbing the fragmentation of international economic law;
  • To develop students’ capacity for critical analysis and independent thinking; and
  • To develop a general range of transferable and generic skills in problem-solving and reasoning, computer literacy, time management and written and oral communication.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, students will be able to;

  • Appreciate the nature of international investment law
  • Reflect and assess the contributions of international investment disputes settlement bodies in the development of international economic law
  • Understand the role of other international agreements in the interpretation of international investment agreements
  • Understand the standard of protection available in international investment law
  • Understand the evolving treaty practice on international investment
  • Understand the role played by private individuals and companies in the settlement of international investment disputes
  • Understand the special nature of investment disputes
  • Understand the influence of dispute settlement on a country’s investment climate.
  • Compare dispute settlement under the ICSID Convention with other methods of dispute settlement
  • Understand the historical origins of the Convention on the settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention)
  • Understand the leading principles underlying dispute settlement under the ICSID Convention and UNCITRAL
  • Research, collate and evaluate primary and secondary materials on the featured aspects of international and investment disputes


Course Content

This course unit focuses on the substantive and procedural rules governing the protection and security of foreign direct investment. The historical origins of ICSID, UNCITRAL, and other disputes settlement facilities are discussed. Selection of appropriate forum, the applicable law and post arbitral award remedies in international investment disputes will be dealt with. Special attention will also be paid to evolving multilateral and regional approaches to investment protection. In view of contemporary debates on investment-development nexus, the course will examine the different alternative approaches to investment protection proposed by some developing countries and how these approaches fit into the general debate on development and state responsibility in protecting FDI.

Internships and Job Placements

This course provides a good platform for students who wish to work in major international law firms and international organisations. It is hoped that the best students from this course will be offered the possibility of internships with law firms and international organisations/arbitration centres around the world.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (26 hours) and seminars (4 hours)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Open book take home examination

Recommended reading

  • Surya Subedi, International Investment Law: Reconciling Policy and Principle (Hart Publishing, 2020)
  • Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, International Investment Law: Texts, Cases and Materials, 2nd ed., (Edward Elgar, 2020)

Further readings

  • M. Sornarajah, The International Law on Foreign Investment, 3 ed., (CUP, 2010)
  • David Collins, Performance Requirements and Investment Incentives in International Economic Law, (Edward Elgar, 2015)
  • Tarcisio Gazzini, Interpretation of International Investment Treaties, (Hart Publishing, 2016)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 3
Lectures 30
Seminars 4

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicolette Butler Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Open book take home examination

The course is available to All LLM students

Guest Lectures and Events

In order to provide students with first hand practical experience, every year top practitioners from international organisations or international law firms dealing with international economic law issues are invited to talk about a particular substantive issue and/or well as career possibilities in their organisations.

Formative Essays and Research

Feedback will available within this course unit through the completion of an optional formative essay which will be marked in accordance with the PGT Assessment Criteria which are applied to all summative (final) assessments. In addition, oral feedback will be provided during seminars/lectures, and there will be a possibility of seminar presentations by students.

Students wanting to undertake a dissertation on this subject will be provided with a list of pre-approved titles/topic from which they can choose, or alternatively, students can submit their own titles for approval by the Course Director.

Return to course details