Proportionality and human rights protection in international investment arbitration: What's left hanging in the balance?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article focuses on the proportionality analysis carried out by international investment tribunals when the protection of foreign investment adversely impacts the protection of human rights. International investment arbitrators are increasingly called to adjudicate awards which require a 'balancing' between the so-called rights of investors, protected as they are by relevant international investment agreements (iia), and the rights of third parties affected by foreign investment. Such balancing often entails, at its core, a controversial juxtaposition between investment protections and human rights protections. In this article, I argue that a balancing between investors' rights and human rights is neither possible nor desirable. This argument is crucial to demystify existing assumptions surrounding the use of balancing and proportionality in international investment arbitration as a way of successfully reconciling competing interests as well as conflicting protection obligations vested upon a host State.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law (excluding Law and Society)


  • Human rights, International investment arbitration, Managing vulnerability, Rights-friendly drafting, Systemic integration
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-363
Number of pages21
JournalNordic Journal of International Law
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch