Investor-state arbitration is the dispute-resolution method foreseen in many Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), as well as in Multilateral Investment Treaties, and in free trade agreements.

UNCTAD keeps a database of international investment instruments which helps investors to determine whether investment arbitration in an option for the settlement of the controversy.

Most investment arbitration agreements provide for a cooling-off period; others provide for FITR clauses. Investors should therefore always carefully review the instrument containing the agreement, in order to prevent unwanted preclusion of the claims before arbitral tribunals.

These instruments also predetermine the forum for dispute resolution – while most of them indicate arbitration under ICSID, others may also point to arbitration under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), ICC, SCC, or ad hoc investment arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

For more information on our services in the area of Investment, read our Investment Practice Area pages.

For in-depth information on changes to the EU investor-dispute resolution landscape, read the Background & Context articles in the corresponding section of our web site.


Axel Benjamin Herzberg and Dr Rouven F Bodenheimer routinely advise both, investors and governments on international investment law issues. Mr Herzberg also handled a number of ISDS cases as Deputy Counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

Dr Nicolas Klein worked for German Federal Constitutional Court Justice Professor Dr Andreas Paulus, himself a renowned public international law specialist who represented Germany, inter alia, before the International Court of Justice in the LaGrand case against the United States. Both, Dr Klein’s doctoral thesis and his LL.M. studies at Columbia University (New York) revolved around issues of international investment law, in particular the scope of application ratione personae of bilateral investment treaties.