Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module LAW46315: International Investment Law

Department: Law

LAW46315: International Investment Law

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Provide an overview of the legal framework for international investment as found in international treaties and customary international law, while developing a sophisticated understanding of the substantive law, procedures for enforcement, and the international economic and political context in which foreign investment law has been developed.
  • Analyse selected topics of academic and practical significance, such as: standards of treatment guaranteed to foreign investors, the protection against expropriation, settlement of foreign investment disputes and the reform of investor-state dispute settlement system.


  • An overview of the historical, contextual, and theoretical aspects of international investment law.
  • Investors and Investments.
  • Standards of Protection in International Investment Law.
  • Expropriation.
  • Settling Foreign Investment Disputes.
  • Foreign Investment and National Security.

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 context which has shaped the development of international foreign investment law.
  • Gain comprehensive knowledge of the substantive and procedural aspects of international investment law.
  • Understand the key challenges facing the investor-state dispute settlement system.
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 critique the legitimacy crisis of investor-state dispute settlement system and critically evaluate different reform proposals put forth by key international actors. .
Key Skills:
  • At the end of the module students will:
  • be able to undertake independent and critical legal research, particularly with regards academic literature and case law.
  • be able to utilise research materials 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 interactive seminars. The seminars will provide a forum for students to utilise and develop knowledge gained through independent study of assigned reading materials before each seminar.
  • 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 in 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 8 Weekly 2 hours 16
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Essay (1500 words, individual feedback will be provided).

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