PhD defence A. (Anran) Zhang


Prof.dr. M.G. Faure


Prof.dr. Y. Li

Friday 8 Jan 2021, 11:30 - 13:00
PhD defence
Spoken Language
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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On Friday 8 January 2021, A. Zhang will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Knocking on Arbitrators’ Doors: Legal standing of controlled entities in investment treaty arbitration’.

When legal entities knock on arbitrators’ doors in order to gain access to investment treaty arbitration (ITA), their accessibility to arbitration is one of the primary issues that need to be determined. Jurisdiction ratione personae implies deciding what entities are qualified as foreign investors in accordance with the treaties, and allows those qualified investors to pursue their substantive protection. However, since the establishment of ITA, treaties do not give a precisely clear answer concerning the question of how to determine the standing of specific types of entities. In practice, arbitral tribunals do not provide consistent and comprehensive approaches to determining the standing issues, which challenges the functionality of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. Given these points, when legal entities bring their claims, whether or not arbitration should open the doors to them and how wide the doors should be opened are the focus of the research. This thesis answers the research question: How should the access of various types of legal entities to ITA be determined? The research identifies four different entities, the status of which lies behind the majority of legal challenges concerning jurisdictional disputes in ITA. The entities studied include (1) controlled entities, (2) shareholders, (3) state-owned enterprises, and (4) variable interest entities. The research objective is to provide a comprehensive approach to guiding arbitral tribunals to determine the standing of legal entities. This research also provides recommendations for future investment treaty negotiations.

Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.

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