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Newspaper headlines frequently concern global economic issues, from trade disputes between countries and investment claims by foreign investors against sovereign states, to countries facing balance-of-payments crises and seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This subject examines the law governing global economic issues. It is designed both as a comprehensive introduction in its own right to this important field, as well as a foundation for further exploration through specialist subjects in the curriculum. It begins with a historical and theoretical background to the field before turning to focus on the law and practice of the investment treaty regime, including close analysis of bilateral investment treaties and treaty-based investor-state arbitration. This provides context for understanding the law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well as preferential trade agreements. Finally, the subject examines the lending policies and practices of international financial institutions, particularly the IMF and the World Bank.
Principal topics include:
- Nature, evolution and context of international economic law
- The law of the WTO
- Dispute settlement in the WTO
- International investment law
- Investor-state arbitration under the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Convention
- International financial institutions (particularly the IMF and the World Bank).
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of key areas of international economic law, including the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), international investment law and the practices of international financial institutions (International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank)
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding controversies surrounding the impact of international economic law on various aspects of state sovereignty
- Have a detailed understanding of the major forms of dispute settlement in the field (including the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding and the International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes) and their similarities and differences
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to international economic law.
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding international economic law to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of international economic law.
Last updated: 3 November 2022