Public Interests in Investor-State Arbitration: the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations


This Tuesday I will be taking part in the Seminar ‘Negociación TPP: Desafíos y Oportunidades Comerciales y Legales’, organised by the School of Law of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and California Western School of Law. The seminar will take place at the School of Law of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago de Chile (Chile). I will discuss the interplay between Public Interests and Investor-State Arbitration in light of the ongoing negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Public Interests in the Water Industry


This Monday I will be delivering a talk at Emory Law School, entitled ‘Public Interests in the Water Industry’.


Here is the abstract:

This talk will focus on the interplay between water concession contracts and investment arbitration. The liberalization of water services, together with processes of globalization, has prompted the emergence of a new type of disputes being submitted to arbitration panels. The purpose of this talk is to discuss different aspects of existing jurisprudence associated with public interest considerations in water concession disputes. It is argued that these services, traditionally qualified as ‘public’, are nonetheless being subjected to the generic language and logic of investment arbitration with little or no regard for the unique public interests involved in such cases. Different arguments have been voiced in these types of dispute, each associated with a different perspective on water rights. While there has been an increased resort to the language of ‘human rights’ by states and NGOs, it is surprising to notice that parties and arbitrators seldom refer to ‘consumer rights’, even though citizens are considered to be the beneficiaries of concession contracts and entitled to specific legal protection as consumers. As a consequence of this ‘silence’ over consumer rights, there is no reference to the public service obligations that traditionally bind the provider of the service. The liberalization of the water industry, combined with the privatization of dispute settlement methods, has led to an emphasis on economic aspects while downplaying its nature as a public or essential service.


Visiting Scholarship at Emory Law School


During the next week I will be working as a Visiting Scholar at Emory University School of Law (Atlanta, Georgia, USA), in the framework of the ‘Vulnerability & the Human Condition Initiative’.

I will be pursuing research into the position of citizens/consumers in water concession contracts. My research project, entitled Public Interests in the Water Industry, departs from the traditional concept of ‘Public Services’ to analyze the role played by consumers in modern water concession contracts, namely as regards investment arbitration. You can read more here.

Image: Emory University

Arbitrating Intellectual Property disputes: opportunities and challenges


This Wednesday I will be taking part in the Workshop ‘APAA Patent Surgery’, jointly organized by the Rui Cunha Foundation and the Asian Patent Attorneys Association. I will be discussing the advantages and challenges of arbitrating Intellectual Property disputes.




Research Project ‘Consumer Policy in China: Protecting the Citizens, Strengthening the Domestic Market and Building an Ecological Civilization’


I am pleased to announce that the research project of which I am Principal Investigator, entitled ‘Consumer Policy in China: Protecting the Citizens, Strengthening the Domestic Market and Building an Ecological Civilization’ has been approved by the Research Committee of the University of Macau as a Level 4 project. The total amount of funding is MOP 2,224,560 for a 36-month project.

Research Team:

– Fernando Dias Simões, University of Macau, Macau (Principal Investigator)

– Julien Chaisse, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Co-Principal Investigator)

– Thomas J. Schoenbaum, George Washington University, USA (Co-Principal Investigator)

– Jean-Yves Heurtebise, Fujen Catholic University, Taiwan (Co-Principal Investigator)

– Leire Escajedo San Epifanio, University of the Basque Country, Spain (Co-Principal Investigator)



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