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The Origins of International Investment Law


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 (ISBN-13: 9781107440326)

International investment law is a complex and dynamic field. Yet, the implications of its history are under explored. Kate Miles examines the historical evolution of international investment law, assessing its origins in the commercial and political expansionism of dominant states during the seventeenth to early twentieth centuries and the continued resonance of those origins within modern foreign investment protection law. In particular, the exploration of the activities of the Dutch East India Company, Grotius' treatises, and pre-World War II international investment disputes provides insight into current controversies surrounding the interplay of public and private interests, the systemic design of investor-state arbitration, the substantive focus of principles, and the treatment of environmental issues within international investment law. In adopting such an approach, this book provides a fresh conceptual framework through which contemporary issues can be examined and creates new understandings of those controversies.

• Explores the historical evolution of international investment law going back to the seventeenth century • Provides an assessment on future trends in investment law and policy and practical measures for reform • Assesses contemporary controversies surrounding international investment law and environmental protection objectives through an historical framework and provides a fresh understanding on these issues


Introduction; Part I. Historical Evolution of Foreign Investment Protection Law: 1. Origins of international investment law; 2. 'The dynamic of a politically oriented law': foreign investment protection in a changing political environment; Part II. Contemporary Interaction: Foreign Investment, Imperialism and Environmental Protection: 3. Polarisation of positions; 4. Hints at synergy; Part III. Foreign Investment Law, Practices and Policy: Future Trends: 5. Transformation in international law: applying developments to foreign investment; 6. Paths towards a reconceptualised international law on foreign investment; 7. Conclusion: patterns of power in international investment law.


'Kate Miles's monograph is one of the most important contemporary contributions to the field of investment law … Miles's assembly of a wide range of historical and doctrinal material is an interpretive and constitutive act intended to change the field and not merely reflect it.' Michael Fakhri, Journal of International Economic Law

'Miles's work provides a fascinating insight into both the historical origins of investment law and the road of reform that lies ahead … [her] work is remarkable.' Cameron Miles, Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law

'… the book makes a nice contribution to the literature …' European Journal of International Law

'Miles's book is an important and interesting contribution that deserves to be widely read.' Jason Yackee, Law and History Review

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