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)

– Paolo D. Farah, West Virginia University, USA (Co-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)






Best Paper Prize – 12th ASLI Conference ‘Law 2.0: New Challenges in Asia’


I am honoured that my paper ‘Rule of Law(s): Legal pluralism in Timor-Leste’ was distinguished as one of the three best papers presented at the 12th  Asian Law Institute (ASLI) Conference ‘Law 2.0: New Challenges in Asia’. I thank the Committee for their kind words of encouragement and for putting together a magnificent event. See you all next year in Beijing!



Rule of Law(s): Legal pluralism in Timor-Leste


This Thursday I will be presenting a paper at the 12th ASLI Conference ‘Law 2.0: New Challenges in Asia’. The conference will take place at the College of Law, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. My presentation is entitled ‘Rule of Law(s): Legal pluralism in Timor-Leste’. Download the full programme here.

Here is the abstract:

As in other post-conflict states, the international community has been actively promoting the implementation of the rule of law in Timor-Leste. In 2006 a report by the World Bank stated that the justice system remains the weakest branch of Timor-Leste’s governance architecture. The effectiveness of the justice system is hampered by the fact that laws and proceedings are not translated into languages understood by all court actors. Timor-Leste has a long history of multilingualism, with at least sixteen language varieties being spoken in the country. Both Tetum and Portuguese are official languages, with Portuguese being predominantly used in courts, even though less than 10% of the population is fluent in the language. Due to the substantial obstacles faced by the majority of the population in accessing the formal justice system, the bulk of disputes are resolved through traditional means of dispute settlement. The post-colonial legacy was one of two separate legal systems – the formal legal system and the traditional system – operating in parallel. More than a decade after independence, the former continues to have only a peripheral presence in the lives of most East Timorese.

Creating a new nation is a tremendously difficult and slow process. The World Development Report 2011 found that on average post-conflict countries take between 15 and 30 years – an entire generation – to transition out of fragility and to build resilience. In Timor-Leste’s case this process is further complicated by the language policy. The purpose of this research paper is to examine the importance of legal pluralism in Timor-Leste and discuss possible avenues for the implementation and strengthening of the rule of law in the country. We will depart from a comparison with other jurisdictions where legal pluralism plays a decisive role but will also take due account of the unique specificities of Timor-Leste.

Clear as Water? Transparency in Water Concession Arbitrations

Conference Cambridge

This Friday I will be presenting a paper at the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law Fourth Annual Conference: Developing Democracy: Conversations on Democratic Governance in International, European and Comparative Law. The conference will take place at St John’s College Divinity School, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. Download the full programme here. My presentation is entitled ‘Clear as Water? Transparency in Water Concession Arbitrations’.

Here is the abstract:

Concession contracts are increasingly used in the water services industry all over the world. With the globalisation of markets, concession contracts are also more and more associated with foreign investment. Investor-state arbitration has been used recurrently to settle disputes related to foreign investment in the water services industry. This paper analyses several cases that have been brought before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The last decades witnessed a torrent of criticism over the lack of transparency of the investment treaty arbitration system. Several scholars and practitioners have argued that this is basically the result of the application of the commercial arbitration logic and procedures to investor-state disputes. Third parties have insistently been claiming for more openness of the proceedings, demanding essentially two things: greater transparency (seeing what is going on, following the proceedings); and greater participation (influencing what is going on, taking part in such proceedings). In response to these criticisms, ICSID’s Arbitration Rules were amended in 2006 to provide for participation of non-disputing parties, namely through the submission of amicus briefs. Yet, in most cases amici are invited to file submissions without having the opportunity to review the parties’ pleadings and fully understanding the issues at stake. It is questionable whether the admission of amicus briefs alone without access to the arbitration record or oral proceedings is enough to address concerns over the transparency and legitimacy of investment treaty arbitration. In the cases under analysis, amici curiae had a general sense of what was going on but could not view the exact contours of the dispute – they were at best ‘myopic amici’. Investment arbitration is unlikely to be perceived as more legitimate if third parties and the overall community begin to suspect that the system only pays lip service to the goal of transparency.


The WTO at 20: Taking Stock and Challenges Ahead

The conference is underway. We are in for two days of stimulating discussion.   


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