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Extending International Legal Aid from Trade to Investment: An Advisory Centre on International Investment Law

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Federico Ortino, Karl Sauvant

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-554
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal Trade and Customs Journal
Issue number10
PublishedOct 2021

King's Authors


Several mechanisms at the international level provide legal aid to lower-income States to strengthen ‘access to justice’ and ‘equality among States’, whether through direct financial support or institutional legal assistance. After reviewing the concept of international legal aid, this article makes the case for the creation of an Advisory Centre on International Investment Law (ACIIL) to provide support to respondent States involved in disputes brought by private investors based on international investment treaties and other instruments, as part of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS). The increasing costs, complexity and number of investor-State arbitrations has strengthened the need for an international legal aid mechanism in this area, to put under-resourced developing countries in a better position to have affordable access to justice and defend themselves adequately in international investment disputes. This would level the playing field, strengthen the confidence of governments in a reformed
investment regime and thereby enhance its legitimacy. Drawing on the experience of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), the article discusses the rationale, key features and current policy challenges of an Advisory Centre on International Investment Law.

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