Call for Graduate and Law Center Student Research Assistants (RAs) – December 2022

Measuring and Building Institutional Capacity for Investor-State Dispute Settlement in Latin America and the Caribbean (MBIC)

Application Due DateFriday, January 6, 2023, by midnight

Project Overview

An increasing concern for Latin American countries is the growing use of “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) by multinational corporations (MNCs). A CAROLA study of all regional disputes over 25 years revealed that Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) states have together faced claims for US $1.5 trillion and been ordered to pay a staggering US $32.2 billion in awards and settlements. There is an ongoing multilateral debate hosted at the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) level on how best to reform international investment agreements (IIAs) to ensure states’ regulatory autonomy while remaining attractive to foreign investment.

In addition to the constraints of states’ international investment agreements, internal governance and institutional challenges, such as weak coordination among relevant government ministries and the inclusion of different branches and levels of government, stymie States’ ability to prevent claims and successfully manage disputes. In addition, new officeholders are often unaware of the scope of their liability exposure stemming from previously-signed international agreements.

The MBIC project seeks to identify and map LAC countries’ institutional capacity to prevent and manage claims from foreign investors. Current research focuses on identifying countries’ institutional framework, characterizing their leading agency/institution defending the State against these claims, and assessing their capacity to anticipate and prevent an internal grievance from escalating into an international dispute. The project currently involves the analysis of four countries, namely Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, and will eventually expand to focus on 15 LAC countries.

This collaborative research project, which is being advanced by Georgetown Law’s Center for the Advancement of the Rule of Law in the Americas (CAROLA) and Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) project, aims to identify, gather, and systematize data on this phenomenon across the region, and disseminate it through an accessible online platform. The project is coordinated by Prof. Alvaro Santos (Center for the Advancement of the Rule of Law in the Americas, Law Center) and Prof. Diana Kapiszewski (Department of Government).

More details about the position and the application process can be found here.