International Investment Law Research Guide

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

National Legislation

Most countries have enacted laws governing investments made by foreign nationals within their boundaries. Such laws typically establish protections for foreign investors, govern the tax treatment of investments, outline procedures for settling disputes, and often designate a forum for dispute resolution.  In some cases, they may set limits on foreign ownership of certain strategic industries. 

The following resources will help you to locate national legislation on foreign direct investment.  For non-English speaking jurisdictions, this type of legislation is more likely to be available in English translation than other types of legislation.  Bear in mind, however, that an English translation is not legally binding, even if it is officially sanctioned by the jurisdiction in question.

  • Investment Laws of the World.  Call No. K1112 .A49 .I5 (regularly updated)
    This ten volume loose-leaf set is compiled by ICSID.  Laws are arranged alphabetically by country name and are provided in their original language or in English translation (sometimes both).  New laws are added to the binders as they become available. More than 120 jurisdictions are represented, mostly in the developing world.
  • Investment Laws Navigator
    This free database, maintained and regularly updated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) includes national investment laws from multiple jurisdictions, primarily in the developing world.  Browse alphabetically by jurisdiction or use the map to select a specific jurisdiction.  For non-English speaking jurisdictions, most laws are provided in English translation and may be viewed in a web browser or downloaded in PDF format.
  • Investor-State Law Guide (ISLG)
    ISLG provides the full texts of national laws governing foreign investment for selected jurisdictions in the developing world.  To access these national laws, select "Treaties and Rules" from the Document Library menu on the left side of the ISLG homepage.  After the page refreshes, use the Filter by Type menu to select "National Investment Laws."  Then browse alphabetically by jurisdiction.
  • The Foreign Law Guide
    Use this subscription database to identify primary law sources in jurisdictions outside the U.S.  From the homepage, click on the tab labeled "Laws by Subject" and select "Foreign Investments" from the alphabetical list of subjects.  Then select the desired jurisdiction.  In some cases, you will find a direct link to an electronic version of a relevant law.  In other cases, only a citation to a print source is provided.  Ask a librarian for assistance in locating print sources.
  • Getting the Deal Through
    This multi-jurisdictional resource offers in-depth, practitioner-written summaries of national laws governing dozens of practice areas using a question and answer format.  Begin by selecting Trade as the work area.  Then select either Foreign Investment Review or Investment Treaty Arbitration.  Then select the desired jurisdiction and sections to generate your report.  Or select two or more jurisdictions to compare. Jurisdictional coverage varies by work area and is selective, not comprehensive.
  • Transnational Dispute Management (TDM)
    TDM has selective coverage of national laws related to foreign investment in its online database. To access them, click on the "Legal & Regulatory Docs" tab.  Browse by category ("laws & regulations") or by country.  Or search by keyword.  Click on the "Help Page" link for tips on formulating searches.  The full texts of national laws may be downloaded in PDF format. English translations are sometimes provided.