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The Vienna Convention as Authority for the Use of Precedent as Customary Practice in International Arbitrations of Oil Concessions and Investment Disputes in North Africa and the Gulf Arab States; or a Lex Mercatoria for a Lex Petrolea

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General principles of law are a valid source of law for arbitral tribunals. The Vienna Convention 1 allows recourse to general principles of law. In Bilateral Investment Treaty (hereinafter “BIT”) interpretation but also in International Commercial Arbitration (hereinafter “ICA”)/International Investment Arbitration (“hereinafter “IIA”), arbitrators can be guided by the Vienna Convention 2 and in so doing may refer to a number of ‘rules’ and norms of ‘international law’ applicable to the relations between states, such as those mentioned herein including principles drawn from the lex mercatoria or other types of international customary law, e.g. the principle of pacta sunt servanda, which honours contracts between states and investors, as well as the principle of precedent. Additionally, they may refer to customary norms from other jurisdictions that can harmonise with Western law.

Affiliations: 1: BA (University of Colorado), MA (University of Malta Faculty of Laws, Distinction) MA (School for International Training), PhD (Macquarie University) GDL Cand. (Oxford Brookes) Former International Human Rights Law lecturer, Macquarie Law School


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