Please enable JavaScript, then refresh this page. JavaScript is required on this site.


General Principles of Law in Investment Arbitration, and the Hierarchy of Norms under International Law

March 8, 2018

Jones Day London
21 Tudor Street
London EC4Y 0DJ

Registration: 5.30 p.m.
Start: 6.00 p.m.
Reception: 7.30 - 8.30 p.m.

Jones Day's London Office is hosting an event on behalf of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) on the General Principles of Law in Investment Arbitration, and the Hierarchy of Norms under International Law.

Investment arbitration is governed by international law, which in turn is defined by Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Customary international law and the lex specialis of treaties are two of the main primary sources of international law, but these sources are particularly geared to state-to-state conduct. With private parties and municipal law rights almost always at issue in an investment arbitration, the third primary source -"general principles of law recognized by civilized nations" - is becoming more important. These are the universal principles of municipal law accepted by nearly every legal system, unmoored from the parochial nuances of any one country and reduced to the basic norms that guide commercial interaction. Pacta sunt servanda (contracts must be respected), venire contra factum proprium (estoppel) and fraus omnia corumpit (fraud vitiates everything) are among the principles that can guide and govern the outcome of a dispute that involves private parties, but is decided under international law. But how do these principles interact with custom and treaties, the other "primary" sources of international law, and subsidiary sources like jurisprudence and scholarship? Professor Bin Cheng's 1953 book on "General Principles of Law as Applied by International Courts and Tribunals" has long been the seminal reference for these issues, but a recent book by Jones Day partner Charles T. Kotuby Jr. and Luke A. Sobota has updated the scholarship to account for the advent of investment arbitration.

The speakers at this seminar, run jointly by the Investment Treaty Forum and Jones Day, will consider these and other issues and their implications for the future of investment arbitration.



  • Dominique Brown-Berset, Brown&Page, Geneva
  • Charles T. Kotuby Jr., partner, Jones Day, Washington, D.C.
  • Professor Yarik Kryvoi, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London
  • Professor Julian Lew QC, 20 Essex Street & Queen Mary University of London


For more information on this seminar and to register, please visit the BIICL website.