Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books and working papers. Other papers and publications can be found on SSRN and the ANU Researchers database.

Using Travaux to Interpret Treaties: A Proposed Sliding Scale

Author(s): Esme Shirlow

Materials produced during the negotiation of treaties, commonly called travaux préparatoires, are given formal significance as a ‘supplementary means’ of treaty interpretation under article 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (‘VCLT’). Travaux present both risks and opportunities for treaty interpretation, and international adjudicators have differed in how they define the rationale for referring to travaux; how they use these materials, and even more fundamentally, what materials they classify as travaux. This article proposes a methodology to guide the more structured identification and use of travaux. The article uses the interpretation of investment treaties in investor-state arbitration as a case study to illustrate the proposed approach and its utility. The discussion, including the proposed sliding scale approach, is nonetheless equally relevant for interpreting all manner of treaties. Section I illustrates three practical challenges associated with the use of travaux in investment treaty disputes to highlight the advantages and pitfalls associated with using travaux. Section II considers what may constitute ‘travaux’. Based on an extensive review of arbitral practice, Section II argues in favour of a sliding scale approach to travaux, whereby treaty interpreters assess the utility of a given material by reference to its precise qualitative features and the context of interpretation. Section III considers how arbitral tribunals have used – and should use – travaux by reference to the interpretive framework established by the VCLT. Section IV considers how investment tribunals have regulated access to and use of travaux through their powers to order document production.

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The Multiple Forms of Transparency in International Investment Arbitration: Their Implications, and Their Limits

Author(s): Esme Shirlow

This Chapter traces the development of procedural transparency in international investment arbitration to tease apart different types of transparency, whilst also considering their objectives and consequences. The analysis indicates that the meaning, promise and limits of transparency will differ for different stakeholders and different reform objectives. The Chapter draws out the differences between the concepts of transparency as ‘availability’, ‘access’, and ‘participation’ to identify three distinct types of ‘transparency’. It connects these concepts to the reforms to procedural transparency that have occurred for investment arbitration to date. This supports an analysis of whether the types of transparency reforms that have been pursued thus far are adapted to achieving their stated purposes. What emerges is an understanding of transparency that is closely connected to the development of, and hopes for, international investment arbitration. Transparency has emerged as a key means of improving international investment arbitration, including to make it more accountable and more legitimate. An agenda that seeks to identify and enact effective reforms to reach this promise must take into account the types of transparency best adapted to achieve these goals. In considering transparency in international investment arbitration, then, it is vital that States, arbitral institutions, and other stakeholders confront the assumptions and motivations underpinning suggested reforms in order to best adapt those reforms to achieve their stated objectives. The contours of the discussion in this Chapter hold importance for reform agendas in other fields of international arbitration. It highlights the importance of clarifying what is being proposed, what is being excluded from that discussion, and how these understandings influence the concrete outcomes of reform efforts as well as the appraisal of their success by disparate stakeholders.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law

Australian Professional Practice Bodies and the Tort of Negligent Investigation

Author(s): Esme Shirlow

The New South Wales Supreme Court has examined the statutory and common law duties of the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission and the New South Wales Medical Board in the recent case of Attorney General (NSW) v Bar-Mordecai [2008] NSWSC 774. The judgment establishes that a professional practice body investigating the alleged misconduct of a doctor will rarely be liable under Australian statutory or common law duties to compensate that doctor for harm arising as a result of negligent investigatory practices. In particular, it establishes that such a body owes no duty to take reasonable care to avoid psychiatric injury to a medical practitioner against whom a complaint has been lodged that is being investigated by it. It is argued that the differing relevant approaches to the tort of negligent investigation in Canada and Australia stem from differences not only in policy values but in the legal frameworks used in each jurisdiction to determine the existence of duties of care at common law.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law

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