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Portfolio Investment: Reconceptualising the Notion of Investment under the ICSID Convention

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The International Investment régime has been transformed to a vibrant and constantly evolving, yet incoherent system. A point of incoherence has been the notion of ‘investment’ under the ICSID Convention for which the case-law and doctrine have remained unsettled for long. Some Respondent States have been particularly resistant to a broad interpretation of the notion of ‘investment’ which would include portfolio investments in its ambit.Despite this trend, the aim of this article is to reconceptualise the problem and make the case for a more encompassing definition of ‘investment’. In Part II of the article, the case-law of ICSID tribunals will be analysed and it will be argued that the methodology they have followed to interpret the notion of ‘investment’ is erroneous. In Part III, it will be argued that the limitations that they have placed upon the definition of investment are not sanctioned under a proper interpretation of the Convention. In Chapter IV, a new conceptualisation of the notion of investment will be provided. This definition, anchored in International Law but being informed by economics, is more flexible and includes portfolio investment in its scope.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate, International Law, European University Institute, Florence, LLB (Athens); LLM (Cantab); scholar of the Foundation for Education and European Culture, Attorney-at-law, Athens, Email:


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