The originality of outsiders: innovation in the investment treaty system

Anthea Roberts, Taylor St John*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, several proposals by states to reform or displace investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) have gained prominence. While many factors shape which reform proposals states support, here we focus on one important but often overlooked factor: the ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’ status of the government officials who formulate states’ proposals. Based on five years of para-ethnographic observation and interviews with officials involved in ISDS reform, and informed by the interdisciplinary innovation literature, we explore how individuals who have not spent their careers within the field of investment arbitration (and are perceived as ‘outsiders’ by those within that field) have developed more disruptive reform proposals while arbitral insiders have typically proposed sustaining reforms. We illuminate these dynamics in the ISDS reform debates with case studies of four actors: the United States, the European Union, Bahrain, and Brazil.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberchac065
Pages (from-to)1153-1181
Number of pages29
JournalEuropean Journal of International Law
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2023


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