Dr Esme Shirlow

Senior Lecturer
PhD (King's College London), LL.M.(Hons) (Cambridge), LL.B. (Hons.) (ANU), BA (ANU), GDLP (ANU)

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Research Theme


Esmé Shirlow teaches and researches in the fields of public international law, international dispute settlement, and international investment law and arbitration. She currently serves as an assistant to a number of investment treaty tribunals, and has previously also advised parties to investment treaty claims and in proceedings before the International Court of Justice. Esmé is admitted as a Solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory and trained as a civil and commercial mediator in England. Prior to joining the ANU, she worked in the Australian Government’s Office of International Law.

Esmé completed her PhD as a Dickson Poon Scholar at King's College London, for which she was awarded the King's Elsevier Outstanding PhD Thesis Prize. She completed her LL.M. at the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded - among other prizes - the BRD Clarke Prize for Best Overall Performance in the LL.M. and the Clive Parry Prize for Best Result in International Law, as well as the Whewell Scholarship in International Law. Esmé completed her LL.B.(Hons) and a B.A. at the Australian National University.


Esmé is a member of the ANU's Centre for International & Public Law, and an Academic Editor of the Australian Year Book of International Law. She is an Associate Editor with the ICSID Review, and an Assistant Editor (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific) with Kluwer Arbitration Blog.

Significant research publications

Three Manifestations of Transparency in International Investment Law: A Story of Sources, Stakeholders and Structures (2017) 8(1) Goettingen Journal of International Law 73-99 

Dawn of a New Era? The UNCITRAL Rules and UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration (2016) 31(3) ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal 622-654 

Taking Stock: Assessing the Implications of the Kadi Saga for International Law and the Law of the European Union (2014) 15 Melbourne Journal of International Law 534 

Deference and Indirect Expropriation Analysis in International Investment Law: Observations on Current Approaches and Frameworks for Future Analysis (2014) 29(3) ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal 595-626 

‘Dissecting Backlash: The Unarticulated Causes of Backlash and its Unintended Consequences’ in Geir Ulfstein and Andreas Follesdal, The Judicialization of International Law – A Mixed Blessing? (Oxford University Press, 2018) (with Professor David D. Caron) 

Recent news

Karla Brenner outside the law building
2018 ANU Prize recipient Karla Brenner talks about winning

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.

Book chapters

  • ‘The Rule of Law, Standards of Review, and the Separation of Powers’ in August Reinisch and Stephan Schill (eds), Investment Protection Standards and the Rule of Law (forthcoming)
  • ‘Back into the Shadows? Public Participation in the Peaceful Settlement of Investment Disputes through Non-Arbitral Means’ in Avidan Kent, Eric de Brabandere and Tarcisio Gazzini (eds), Public Participation and Foreign Investment Law: From the Creation of Rights and Obligations to the Settlement of Disputes (Brill, forthcoming)
  • ‘The Multiple Forms of Transparency in International Arbitration, Their Implications, and Their Limits’ in Thomas Schultz and Federico Ortino (eds), The Oxford Handbook on International Arbitration (Oxford University Press, forthcoming March 2020) (co-author: Professor David D. Caron)
  • ‘Article 25(2)(b)’ in Gloria Alvarez, Remy Gerbay and Julien Fouret, The ICSID Convention, Rules and Regulations: A Commentary’ (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018) (co-author: Professor David D. Caron) (forthcoming)
  • ‘Dissecting Backlash: The Unarticulated Causes of Backlash and its Unintended Consequences’ in Geir Ulfstein and Andreas Follesdal, The Judicialization of International Law – A Mixed Blessing? (Oxford University Press, 2018) (co-author: Professor David D. Caron)
  • ‘Most-Favored-Nation Treatment: Substantive Protection’ in Meg Kinnear, Geraldine R. Fischer, Jara Minguez Almeida, Luisa Fernanda Torres and Mairee Uran Bidegain (eds), Building International Investment Law: The First 50 Years of ICSID (Wolters Kluwer, 2015), pp. 399-414 (co-author: Professor David D. Caron)

Commissioned reports

  • Regional Cyber Futures Initiative Scoping Study: Legal Frameworks in the Indo-Pacific Region – Cyber Resilience of Critical Infrastructure in Indonesia’s Energy Sector (2019) (co-author: Dr. Sarah Heathcote)
  • Report on Legal Methodology and Research Training for PhD Students, King’s College London Transnational Law Institute, Graduate Programme and Research Coordination Committee (2016)

Case notes & book reviews

  • ‘Statute of the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea’, Oxford International Organizations Database (2017)
  • ‘Convention on the Settlement of International Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States’, Oxford International Organizations Database (2017)
  • ‘UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration’, Oxford International Organizations Database (2017)


Current courses

Past courses

  • International Investment Law (Visiting Lecturer, King's College London)
  • Public International Law (Visiting Lecturer, King's College London and Sessional Tutor, Australian National University)
  • Various (Jabal Centre, Australian National University)

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team