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International Investment Law Research Guide

This guide features resources on international investment law, in general, and investor-state arbitration, in particular.


International investment law governs foreign direct investment and the resolution of disputes between foreign investors and sovereign states. This guide identifies the best resources for locating both primary and secondary materials related to international investment law, with a particular emphasis on the arbitration of investor-state disputes under the ICSID convention and bilateral investment treaties. For assistance in researching the arbitration of international commercial disputes between private parties, consult the Law Library's guide to International Commercial Arbitration.

The Law Library provides access to three specialized databases that focus exclusively on international investment law and investor-state arbitration. These databases can serve as starting points for your research.

  • Investment Arbitration Reporter (IAR) (Georgetown Law Only) 
    IAR is a news tracking service with an investigative focus that provides insight into otherwise confidential investor-state arbitrations. Articles and commentary about pending and recently concluded arbitrations are written by practitioners and scholars with expertise in the field.  Users may search for content by keyword or browse by country, topic, industry or treaty. IAR also provides informative profiles of leading arbitrators who regularly conduct investor-state arbitrations.
  • Investment Claims (Georgetown Law Only) 
    This database includes more than 900 investor-state arbitration decisions and awards, more than 1,200 bilateral investment treaties, and overviews of investment treaty practices for 19 jurisdictions. Investment Claims also provides access to select journal articles and book chapters pertaining to international investment law published by Oxford University Press.
  • Investor-State Law Guide (ISLG) (Georgetown Law Only) 
    In addition to providing access to primary sources, such as bilateral investment treaties and arbitral decisions and awards issued by ICSID, NAFTA, and ad hoc tribunals, ISLG offers sophisticated interpretive tools.  The Subject Navigator allows users to search or browse for arbitral decisions by topic.  The Article Citator enables users to see how arbitral tribunals have interpreted specific articles of BITs and other investment treaties, while the Jurisprudence Citator reveals the extent to which arbitral decisions and awards issued in prior cases have been cited by arbitral tribunals in subsequent cases. To access video tutorials that will help you to use the interpretive tools, click on the "Learning Centre" link in the upper right-hand corner of the ISLG homepage.

The Law Library also provides access to two databases that cover all aspects of international commercial arbitration, including both investor-state disputes and disputes between private parties

  • Kluwer Arbitration (Georgetown Law Only) 
    The Kluwer Arbitration database includes more than 2,000 bilateral investment treaties and nearly 300 arbitral decisions and awards issued in investor-state disputes. Kluwer Arbitration also provides access to treatises and other secondary sources on international investment law, including ten specialized journals. The Kluwer Arbitration Blog publishes informed commentary from leading practitioners in the field.
  • Transnational Dispute Management (TDM) (Georgetown Law Only) 
    TDM publishes and online journal featuring peer-reviewed articles about all types of transnational commercial disputes, including investor-state disputes. TDM also maintains a growing online database of legal materials which includes bilateral investment treaties, arbitral decisions and awards issued in investor-state disputes, and national legislation pertaining to foreign investment.