The Protection of Individual and Collective Rights in Investment Treaty Arbitration


Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) plays a controversial role when it comes to the protection of rights. Questions have been raised about the ability of ISDS to safeguard individual interests, particularly human rights. The effect of ISDS on sustainable development, including the protection of collective rights (such as environmental and labor standards, and consumer protection), has also come to the fore as a crucial sticking point in the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

This panel will look at both sides of the debate over the use of ISDS mechanisms, grappling with some of the difficult questions that the growth of ISDS poses, such as:

  • Is arbitration an appropriate forum for deciding individual protections under international law?
  • Are private actors suited to deciding questions that involve public policy?
  • What are the pros and cons of ISDS for human rights and sustainable development?
  • What are the implications for the rule of law and good governance?

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres available from 5:30 p.m., discussion to start at 6:00 p.m..


  • Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Ryan Mellske,  Associate, Three Crowns LLP


  • Benn McGrady, Project Director, Initiative on Trade, Investment and Health, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown Law

This event is sponsored by the American Society of International Law and will be streamed live at

Date and Location

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm
American Society of International Law and via livestream
Address 1: 
2223 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, and online