International investment arbitration under sanction restrictions and political tensions: possible directions for development

Available in Russian

Price 299 Rub.

Author: Viktoria Erokhina

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2023-1-154-167

Keywords: International investment arbitration; unilateral restrictive measures; regionalization; UNCITRAL


The creation of a universal institution for resolving investment disputes between States and investors is seen as less achievable in the context of a crisis of international relations and of a trend towards fragmentation of the world economy into geopolitical blocs with closed groups of participants and its division into allies and rivals. For this reason, many proposals for reforms of international investment arbitration discussed since 2017 by Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law can be expected to be revised. Insomuch as during a crisis the number of disputes tends to increase rather than decrease, and international dispute resolution forums become more popular due to severed connections to national legal systems and to restricted control by States, international investment arbitration does not lose its relevance. However, it can be assumed that under the influence of economic and political instability in the world, significant changes can be expected in international investment arbitration. This article is devoted to how the institution of resolving investment disputes between States and investors will be transformed. The article analyzes both the structural problems of international investment arbitration associated with the imperfection and shortcomings of this method of resolving disputes, and the context in which the institution exists (e.g., the introduction of unilateral economic measures against certain States, restrictions on access to justice for persons under sanctions, the trend of regionalization, and changes in the foreign policy of States). The author concludes that the success of one or another proposal to reform international arbitration will depend on how a particular proposal meets the national interests of each State. At the same time, it is expected that demand for Asian arbitration institutions will increase, since Asian States are less subject to sanctions, and that new arbitration institutions will be created within the framework of regional associations.

About the author: Viktoria Erokhina – Ph.D. Student, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Erokhina V. (2023) Mezhdunarodnyy investitsionnyy arbitrazh v usloviyakh sanktsionnykh ogranichenii i politicheskoy napryazhennosti: vozmozhnye napravleniya razvitiya [International investment arbitration under sanction restrictions and political tensions: possible directions for development]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 154–167. (In Russian).


Bungenberg M., Reinisch A. (2020). From Arbitral Tribunals to a Multilateral Investment Court: The European Union Approach. In: Chaisse J., Choukroune L., Jusoh S. (eds.) Handbook of International Investment Law and Policy, Singapore: Springer, pp. 2285–2319.

Rachkov I., Rachkova E. (2022) Sanktsii v mezhdunarodnom investitsionnom arbitrazhe (na primere odnogo iz del) [Sanctions in an international investment arbitration case]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 84–112. (In Russian).

Vunukaynen V.S. (2022) Isklyuchitel’naya kompetentsiya rossiyskikh sudov po sanktsionnym sporam: padayushchego tolkni? [Exclusive jurisdiction of Russian courts regarding the disputes affected by sanctions: “that which is falling should also be pushed?”]. In: Mullina Yu.N. (ed.) Novye gorizonty mezhdunarodnogo arbitrazha. Vypusk 7: sbornik statey [New horizons of international arbitration. Issue 7: collection of articles], Moscow: Rossiyskiy institut sovremennogo arbitrazha, pp. 77–115. (In Russian).

Wei S., Li S. (2022) Legitimacy Crisis and the ISDS Reform in a Political Economy Context. Journal of East Asia and International Law, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 31–60.