What is treaty shopping, and how may ‘legitimate nationality planning’ be distinguished from ‘abusive treaty shopping’ in international investment law? This is the question that investment arbitral tribunals have increasingly face, yet have often been at pains to find a coherent approach towards this distinction that may decide over whether the claimant crosses the jurisdictional hurdle or not. This is unsurprising, given the absence of a doctrine of precedent in international investment arbitration and the often similarly, but not identically, worded key clauses in thousands of agreements. However, the importance of this practice transcends the outcome of concrete arbitral cases. In times of heightened public scepticism towards the current global economic governance system, treaty shopping may be perceived as contributing to a mounting ‘legitimacy crisis’ the international investment arbitration system has been facing for years. If this crisis further escalates, this could deeply impact the system in its current form.
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