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Anthea Roberts
Canberra, Australia
RegNet School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University
Interests: Public International Law, International Economic Law, Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration, Comparative International Law, International Law and China
Recent Activity
First published on EJIL: Talk! by Anthea Roberts and Taylor St. John* A striking feature of the debates over ISDS reform in the last UNCITRAL session were the battles over naming and framing. In some ways, these battles reflect the... Continue reading
First published on EJIL: Talk! by Anthea Roberts and Taylor St. John* The UNCITRAL debates over ISDS reforms can serve as a real-world laboratory for observing changes in the national interests and policies of different countries, as well as shifts... Continue reading
Thanks Brian from your insightful comment. Yes, I believe you are absolutely correct. In Chapter 3 of the book (which is available for download on SSRN at, I look at some of the socializing factors and incentives that help produce these sorts of differences. US international law academics have typically only studied law in the US, most work for one or two domestic US judges as clerks, many work for the US State Department, and then they try to get jobs at US law schools, which typically requires a vote of the entire law faculty who strongly favor publication in US student run journals. In my view, these socializing factors combine to encourage a greater focus on international law in the US than in a transnational setting. There are exceptions, of course, such as NYU, which functions as an outlier within the US legal academy. In terms of overall patterns, however, the relatively nationalized focus of US international law textbooks often reflects and reinforces the relatively nationalized experiences of US international law academics.
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In June 2017, Foreign Affairs published a piece entitled “Will Economic Globalization End? Foreign Affairs Asks the Experts.” In it, the editors explained that they had decided to ask a “broad pool of experts” for their take and so, as... Continue reading
The Court of Justice for the European Union fired a significant shot at investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) this week, and the result is likely to be much more than just a flesh wound. In deciding that the European Union did... Continue reading
Dear David, Josef and Brian Yes, I agree that this is a concern and I was going to respond the same way as Josef re this being an argument in favor of longer, non-renewable appointments. I also think that this concern is less acute in a multilateral setting than the bilateral model of something like CETA bc more states will be appointing and on any individual case the number of judges appointed by the respondent state (if any) will be a true minority. The same is not quite true of CETA. As for Brian's comment, that is great news! The quality of work done for the first GKK/Potesta report was excellent and I am sure that this work will continue in the same vein. I was fortunate to be able to participate in the Joint CIDS-UNCITRAL Expert Group Meeting held in Geneva on 2-3 March 2017 and the quality of discussion there was also very high. I very much look forward to seeing the new report and working with others to develop our thinking on these issues. Best, Anthea
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Josef, thanks so much for your nuanced and thoughtful comment. Thanks also to Simon for his excellent suggestion. I think that what this helps to show is that it would be great to take this issue into a multilateral forum where multiple parties could start brainstorming about the best modalities to deal with these sorts of questions about institutional design. A lot of people are already doing good work on related issues. In addition to the EU and Canada, Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Michele Potesta obviously completed a very important report that addressed some of these issues for UNCITRAL. Jeremy Sharpe, who has significant experience working for the US State Department and in private practice, made some interesting proposals at the recent ASIL Annual Meeting about lessons that one could draw from the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in formulating a multilateral investment court. Rob Howse has a new concept paper out that deals with some of these reform proposals, while Sergio Puig has posted an interesting piece about using blind appointments in international arbitration. I am fortunate to be hosting Australia’s first ever Fox International Fellow from Yale University, Eugenio Gomez-Chico, who will be looking into the appointment mechanisms used in other international courts and tribunals to see what modalities might be cross applicable to this context. If other people are working on related projects, please – reach out to us. These are difficult issues and I don’t think anyone has a monopoly on the right approach, so it is helpful to have numerous minds turning to these issues at this stage. Best, Anthea
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Thanks to both of you for these comments. There has been a really good debate between different economists about the various causes of the elephant graph's shape. The links in para 7 provide a good background on the various other factors that Freund identifies followed by a very good response by Milanovic and Lakner about how these points are reflected in their original book and do not change much of the underlying analysis in terms of the developing world having had a very high rate of growth and the lower to mid-levels of the developed world having a very low rate of growth during this period. Correlation does not equal causation because other factors also play into the mix, but Milanovic and Lakner provide a good analysis of why the basic structure of economic globalization has helped to produce this result in the last two decades. That is the basic idea that Krugman identifies. I should also note that the big winners of this globalization have been the global 1%. The middle income countries may have seen a high percentage rise in their basic incomes, but the incomes levels were very low to begin with. The global 1% have seen a very high percentage rise in their basic incomes but those incomes were much higher to start with. This means that, although relative inequality has decreased during this period, absolute inequality has increased. This then leads to a question about whether it is more important to measure relative or absolute inequality, but that is an issue for another post!
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