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This page lists the top ten most read articles for this journal based on the number of full text views and downloads recorded on Cambridge Core over the last 30 days. This list is updated on a daily basis.
This paper examines the recent decision by the Indonesian government to terminate its Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the Netherlands when it expires on 30 June 2015. It discusses the likely driving forces behind Indonesia’s decision, and its alternative future strategy. In particular, it focuses upon controversial provisions on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) universally included in BITs. While Indonesia’s termination may appear of minor consequence at first glance, it has significant implications in terms of Indonesia’s obligations under international law as well its capacity to exercise its rights as a sovereign state to act domestically in the public interest. The termination of Indonesia’s first investment treaty containing the ISDS mechanism is also highly symbolic because it represents the first step in a reported strategy to review all its sixty-seven BITs. Indonesia thus joins a growing number of countries concerned about perceived excessive corporate rights enshrined in investment agreements as being incompatible with national development objectives.
It has been argued elsewhere that industrial states were legally responsible for interfering with the climate system by failing to prevent excessive greenhouse gas emissions. This paper determines the international legal principles relevant to the remedial obligations of industrial states. It assumes that climate change reparations should aim first at providing a signal for the cessation of the wrongful act (i.e. incentivizing climate change mitigation) rather than addressing the injury. A review of state practice in different fields suggests the existence of relevant exceptions to the principle of full reparation. These exceptions relate to the financial capacity of responsible states, the indirect nature of the injury, considerations of “culpability”, and the limitations of collective responsibility as “rough” justice. Accordingly, it is suggested that climate change reparations should be limited to partial compensation and symbolic measures of satisfaction prone to incentivize climate change mitigation.
This paper assesses the extent to which the recently formulated Chinese concept of “Responsible Protection” (RP) offers a valuable contribution to the normative debate over R2P's third pillar following the controversy over military intervention in Libya. While RP draws heavily on previous proposals including the 2001 ICISS report and Brazil's “Responsibility while Protecting” (RwP), by amalgamating and repackaging these earlier ideas in a more restrictive form the initiative represents a new and distinctive interpretation of R2P. However, some aspects of RP are framed too narrowly to provide workable guidelines for determining the permissibility of military intervention for humanitarian purposes, and should be clarified and refined. Nevertheless, the Chinese proposal remains significant because it offers important insights into Beijing's current stance on R2P. More broadly, China's RP and Brazil's RwP initiatives illustrate the growing willingness of rising, non-Western powers to assert their own normative preferences on sovereignty, intervention, and global governance.
This paper explains why so much soft law is widely adopted and followed despite lacking legal and coercive force. It argues that legal standards are susceptible to network effects. Network effects occur when the value of a standard to a user increases as the number of other agents using the same standard grows, which in turn draws more users to the standard. This can trigger a spontaneous coalescence around a standard in a “snowball effect” fashion. The paper argues that many areas of soft law exhibit strong network effects, rendering such soft law uniquely calibrated to induce voluntary adoption and even compliance. The model helps explain why certain soft law gains traction, and has important implications for international governance. Finally, the paper argues that policy-makers can strategically harness this dynamic to stimulate legal harmonization, but cautions that policy-makers must also remain mindful of the negative consequences that network effects can generate.
Sri Lanka is the first country against which a foreign investor has had recourse to international arbitration based on the dispute settlement clause in a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). This was the case of AAPL v. Sri Lanka. Since then, the country has been challenged twice before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), while its latest encounter was in the case of Deutsche Bank AG v. Sri Lanka. In the intervening years between these two cases, Sri Lanka maintained silence and failed to alter its BITs in a global context where the conventional attitude on international investment agreements (IIAs) is being increasingly reconsidered. This paper provides an overview of Sri Lanka’s BITs, which highlights the urgency of reconsidering the country’s investment treaty-making practice. It suggests some modifications to align the country’s investment treaty-making practice with international investment law (IIL) developments.
This paper examines the evolution of expropriation provisions contained in Singapore’s bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements from the 1970s until now. It will be seen that whilst earlier treaties contained skeletal expropriation provisions, the later treaties have sought to guide the exercise of tribunals’ discretion by providing a non-exhaustive list of factors to be taken into account when indirect expropriation is alleged. The consequences of this evolution in Singapore’s treaty-making practice are considered in the light of customary international law. The paper postulates a framework for analyzing Singapore’s treaty practice and this author concludes by submitting that the later treaties arguably go one step further in limiting the scope of indirect expropriation.
A vast private recruitment industry has emerged across South and Southeast Asia, driven by exponential increases in migrant workers seeking temporary low-wage jobs abroad. Many workers encounter mistreatment which is traceable to systemic recruiter misconduct. Could origin countries better protect their citizens and render recruiters more accountable? This paper presents a novel, rights-based recruitment governance framework to tackle this challenge, based on empirical studies conducted across Asia. Section I examines recent regulatory efforts and illustrates their limited effectiveness absent such a guiding framework. Section II elucidates and applies the key elements of the framework, including: incorporation of human rights standards; enforceable legal rights and obligations; effective implementing institutions and processes; and empowered participation of migrant workers in key labour migration processes and decisions. Section III identifies structural and practical obstacles to regulatory enforcement that the framework addresses, creating necessary conditions for transnational market-based reforms and responsible recruitment within origin countries. Section IV concludes that the framework provides countries of origin with a feasible path to better protecting migrant workers within a sustainable development strategy.
Severe exploitation of vulnerable persons is occurring in fishing industries globally. An overview of exploitation in New Zealand and Thailand highlights the incentive for states to downplay exploitation and underpins the appeal of a right of visit, which is provided for under the Law of the Sea Convention in regards to the slave trade. Although reported as forced labour, debt bondage, or human trafficking, an examination of international jurisprudence reveals that current practices likely amount to slavery; primarily due to the inherent vulnerability of persons at sea. Two persuasive cases, Kunarac and Tang, provide guidance on interpreting the definition of slavery, particularly “the powers attaching to the rights of ownership”. The operation of a right of visit is considered against the law of the sea regime, as are the implications in the light of international attempts to control IUU fishing.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, a line was crossed in the history of terrorism and political violence—many things we had until then taken for granted were lost. This paper analyzes the relationship between international terrorism and human rights and examines how these two concepts—which some suggest are antithetical—might appropriately be spoken of in the same breath even in the aftermath of those terrible attacks. The overarching thesis is that counter-terror efforts must be approached in a way that endeavours to achieve a positive relation to, and co-existence with, the system of human rights at both international and national levels. In this connection, Singapore's approach to counter-terrorism will be considered, providing food for thought on how far it achieves a balance between security and liberty.
If a state has waived state immunity by agreement with a non-state entity in advance of court proceedings brought by that entity to enforce an arbitral award against that state, then the enforcement court should give effect to the waiver. That is the opposite of what the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal decided in Democratic Republic of the Congo v. FG Hemisphere, but it is the approach reflected in the 2004 United Nations Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property. After examining that Hong Kong case and that United Nations Convention, this paper considers the position in various jurisdictions. The prevalent position is in general terms that consent to arbitration usually constitutes waiver of state immunity from jurisdiction of a court to recognize the arbitral award as creating a debt binding on the state, but usually does not constitute waiver of state immunity from execution of that debt against the assets of the state. The conclusion of the paper includes a model waiver of state immunity from jurisdiction and from execution.