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University of Saint Thomas Law Journal



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ABSTRACT: International investment dispute resolution is in an era of unprecedented flux. At first blush, it might appear that major transforma- tions in international law are pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand, non-adjudicative dispute resolution and "alternative" dispute resolu- tion mechanisms like mediation are gaining traction, and with the creation of a Convention on the Enforcement of Mediated Settlement, it might ap- pear to reign supreme. On the other hand, traditional rule of law mecha- nisms, namely international courts, seem to be gaining momentum with the strong advocacy of the European Union for the creation of an International Investment Court and major revision currently underway at the United Na- tions Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Yet, there is a way to bring these themes together and understand them within the larger framework of Dispute Systems Design (DSD). To offer a framework to begin this discussion, this article frames the origins and history of interna- tional investment dispute settlement to facilitate a more structured conver- sation about the larger question of DSD and offers insights for future innovation. This article explores the historical context, the innovations, and how to facilitate an integrated approach to derive value from conflict man- agement mechanisms, which can identify flexible paradigms of dispute res- olution modalities for adaptation to local communities and individual contexts. The article recommends that future dispute resolution designers consider three questions to aid structural reform of international investment conflicts.

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