W&L Law School Joins Worldwide International Investment Law Network

Lexington, VA • Thursday, September 23, 2010

Earlier this month, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and 15 Law Schools from six continents jointly launched a global academic network—dubbed the "G15 of Law Schools"— to discuss and exchange the most recent scholarly thinking on international investment law and economic development. Washington and Lee School of Law is one of only two U.S. law schools included in the new initiative.

The effort was launched in Xiamen, China during the World Investment Forum 2010, which brought together more than 1000 participants from around the world, including more than 400 senior experts on international investment and development. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and David Caron, Berkley Law School professor and president of the American Society of International Law, introduced the partnership during the International Investment Agreements Conference 2010, an annual meeting of experts in international investment law held in conjunction with the World Investment Forum.

W&L law professor Susan Franck, a leading expert in international investment law, is one of the major initiators of this project.

"This pilot project pulls together an academic network of law schools across the globe and is unique in many ways," says Franck. "Not only does it create important synergies between the policy expertise of the United Nations and the unique scholarly insights of academics, but also, it is a vital forum to foster a global dialogue on a global issue."

Franck adds, "It is critical to provide an opportunity for scholars – and their students – to collaborate and break down the development divide so that we can learn from each other's ideas and experiences irrespective of whether we come from the developed or the developing world."

Experts on international investment law from around the world, including academics, representatives from international organizations and non-governmental entities, government representatives, practitioners, and investors took part in the launching event. People from every part of the world were also able to follow the launching event and the rest of the conference via live webcast and participate in the dialog through a live blog.

UNCTAD is recognized worldwide as a center for research and policy analysis on international investment agreements (IIAs). Through its work on IIAs, UNCTAD aids the effective participation of developing countries in international investment rule-setting.  In addition to its extensive publications and databases related to IIAs and treaty arbitrations, UNCTAD provides policy analysis, technical assistance, and capacity-building to support the negotiation of effective treaties. 

In addition to W&L and Berkeley, the current members of the network are the University of Sydney (Australia), the University of Vienna (Austria), Ottawa University (Canada), the Catholic University of Chile, Xiamen University (China), the Université de Paris 1, Panthéon Sorbonne (France), the University of Cologne (Germany), the City University of Hong Kong, the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), Seoul National University (South Korea), the National University of Singapore, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (United Kingdom).

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