2023 Innovations In Investor-state Arbitration


This course will explore recent investment treaty innovations, ongoing reforms in ISDS, and will look to the future of ISDS. Experience the Washington, DC advantage at the home of international investment arbitration, ICSID, and a faculty of highly experienced practitioners in the field.

The course will feature an expert examination of new treaties and agreements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) draft Protocol on Investment, the investment provisions of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We will examine recent ICSID and UNCITRAL Reforms, as well as developments at the UNCITRAL Working Group III.

Sessions will be engaging discussions and include site visits to the U.S. Trade Representative and ICSID. The seminar will run concurrently with the Washington Arbitration Week and time will be set aside for seminar participants to attend sessions and events of the Washington Arbitration Week. For additional details on the Washington Arbitration Week, please visit

Course Outline

Introduction and Review of Fundamentals of Investor-State Dispute Settlement 

Treaty Innovations

  • AfCFTA Protocol on Investment – The Future of ISDS in Africa
  • RCEP and CPTPP – ISDS in the Asia-Pacific Region
  • Visit to U.S. Trade Representative to discuss US Model BITS and Treaty 

ISDS Reforms

  • UNCITRAL Arbitrator Code of Conduct and Mediation Guidelines
  • 2022 ICSID Arbitration Rules
  • Other matters on the agenda of UNCITRAL Working Group III

The Future of ISDS

  • ESG and the Protection of Rights in ISDS
  • Climate Change, Renewables, Investment, and ISDS
  • What are the lessons from COVID for ISDS

Course Advisor

Ian A. Laird is co-chair of Crowell & Moring LLP’s International Dispute Resolution Group and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He acts as an arbitrator and represents a range of clients in international arbitration proceedings involving disputes between corporations and foreign sovereign governments. He is the co-Founder of, the on-line investment arbitration award service published by Oxford University Press. He is licensed to practice in Washington DC as a Special Legal Consultant and in Ontario, Canada as a Barrister & Solicitor.

Dr. Borzu Sabahi is a Partner in the International Arbitration group of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle LLP in Washington, DC. He represents governments in international arbitration matters in a variety of sectors. He was recognized by the International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration Lawyers as a leading practitioner. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School, Co-Editor in Chief of Brill Research Perspectives on International Investment Law & Arbitration, and an Editor of Oxford’s His publications have been cited by arbitral tribunals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is licensed to practice in New York and the District of Columbia.