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International investment law


This course is designed to give you exposure to the world of law concerned with the regulation of foreign investment. When a company goes abroad to invest, what are the risks the company takes – whether political or economic – and what are the rules of international law that protect foreign investments? The laws between the investing country and the host country as well as the interface between international investment law and other areas of international law are all covered in this course.

Module A: Evolution of the law of foreign investment


  • Origins of the law of foreign investment: the early years
  • National standards v. international minimum standard
  • National treatment and the Calvo doctrine
  • The duty to compensate and the Hull formula

Module B: International efforts to regulate foreign investment


  • United Nations efforts
  • Efforts made by the World Bank
  • OECD efforts
  • The role of the World Trade Organization

Module C: Regulation under bilateral and regional investment treaties (BITs)


  • Origins of BITs
  • The content of BITs
  • Significance of BITs
  • Regional treaties: NAFTA

Module D: The case-law on the treatment of foreign investment


  • Fleshing out of the principles of the law of foreign investment
  • Definition of expropriation and nationalisation
  • Determination of the quantum of compensation
  • Extending the frontiers of expropriation


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you complete Module A first, followed by module B.

How to apply 

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Economic Regulation
  • International Business Law
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Law and Development
  • Public International Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Study Material

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Surya Subedi

Professor Surya Subedi

Professor of International Law, Surya Subedi is the author of three study guides. He is a practising Barrister in England and Wales, is the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia and is a member of a high-level Advisory Group to the British Foreign Secretary. He has published extensively in international law, aimed at advocating fairness and promoting the rule of law in international affairs. He has been elected to the Institut de Droit International, was a member of the Water Resources Law Committee of the International Law Association (ILA) and served as a UK member of the Committee of the ILA on Legal Aspects of Sustainable Development. Her Majesty the Queen of the UK has appointed Professor Surya P. Subedi an Honorary Queen's Counsel (QC) in recognition of his contribution to the development of international law.