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Latin American Legal Studies Program Kicks Off Breakfast Series for Lawyers in Latin American Practice

The Latin American Legal Studies Program at Yale Law School inaugurated its breakfast roundtable series for lawyers in Latin American practice with an event April 12 devoted to international investment arbitration. Over 100 people participated at the roundtable, moderated by Yale law professor Daniel Markovits ’00 and simulcast in the New York and Washington offices of Simpson Thacher and the Paris offices of Cleary Gottlieb.

Six prominent panelists drawn from academia, litigation, and arbitration addressed the current state of international investment arbitration, with particular emphasis on Latin America. Emma Lindsay of Simpson Thacher underscored the continent’s importance in pointing out that while a third of the cases resolved by the International Centre for Settlement of Investments Disputes (ICSID) involved Latin American countries, nearly half of pending cases do.

Yale law professor Michael Reisman ’64 LLM, ’65 JSD argued that the development of international investment arbitration law is a dialectic process, not a practice in crisis, and outlined five possible paths the development could follow given current political and economic trends.

University of Chile law professor Santiago Montt ’04 LLM, ’07 JSD, a senior manager at BHP Billiton, looked at how the jurisprudence arising from international investment arbitration can be treated as a nascent form of international public law or international constitutionalism and noted how rule of law can be reinforced or eroded depending on how national governments respond to claims brought by foreign investors.

Claudia Annacker of Cleary Gottlieb focused on charges of corruption and how such charges are primarily used by national governments to prevent international investment disputes from going to arbitration and less frequently by foreign investors using alleged government corruption as an offensive tool to obtain redress.

Carolyn Lamm of White & Case argued against the ad hoc committees reversing ICSID decisions, and Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez of King & Spalding discussed the recent setback to international standards recorded by a Mexican court. Emma Lindsay offered an empirically grounded analysis whose projection indicates continued heightened relevance of Latin American questions in this developing field of law.

Additional details, including speaker bios and background readings, are available here.