Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module LAW41830: International Investment Law

Department: Law

LAW41830: International Investment Law

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to M1K616
Tied to M1K316
Tied to M1K116


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Provide an overview of the legal framework for international investment as found in international treaty and customary law, while developing an understanding of the substantive law, procedures for enforcement, and the international economic and political context which has shaped the law.
  • Analyse some of the core topics of academic and practical significance, such as: standards of treatment guaranteed to foreign investors, the protection against expropriation, and the different procedures for international investment arbitration.


  • An overview of the historical, contextual, and theoretical aspects of international investment law.
  • Exploration of the sources of international investment law and the relationship with investment agreements between host state and the investor.
  • Consideration of the law related to expropriation.
  • Examination of the legal standards for host state treatment of foreign investments.
  • Discussion of investment dispute settlement procedures, particularly international investment arbitration before ICSID, NAFTA, UNCITRAL.
  • Evaluation of the contemporary relevance of the law of host state responsibility and diplomatic protection by the home state.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students will:
  • be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the historical and contemporary issues which have shaped the regulation of foreign investment.
  • gain a detailed understanding of the main institutions involved in the enforcement of international investment law.
  • have comprehensive knowledge of the substantive and procedural aspects of international investment law.
  • have gained a detailed understanding of the relationship between national and international law, and how the latter differs in terms of interpretation of the law and the nature of case law.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • At the end of the module students will:
  • be able to identify, evaluate, and recommend an appropriate response to foreign investment issues of a legal nature.
  • be able to interpret and critically evaluate international investment law and its implication at the national level.
Key Skills:
  • At the end of the module students will:
  • be able to undertake independent and in-depth legal research, particularly with regards international academic literature and case law.
  • be able to utilise research material to support and develop their analysis and critique of principles and institutions.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching will be delivered in the form of lectures and seminars. A significant amount of seminar based contact time reflects the advanced level of the course, and will provide a forum for students to utilise and develop knowledge gained either through the lectures or through set preliminary reading for each topic.
  • DUO will be used to enhance the course. In particular, a discussion board will be used to aid comprehension and foster a sense of community outside of the classroom.
  • The summative assessment will be in the form of an essay on an area of international investment law which the students will independently research and analyse.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 15 Weekly with occasional reading weeks 2 hours 30
Preparation and Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 3,000 words 100% Y
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 3,000 words 100% Y

Formative Assessment:

The formative assessment will depend on the level of participation displayed by the students during the seminars, and may take the form of either an essay or a problem based question. .

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University