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Navigating the Nexus: Colonisation, Globalisation, and the Teaching of International Investment Law

Dr Umair Ghori, Associate Professor, Bond University


This paper focuses on the uncomfortable relationship between colonisation and international investment law against the backdrop of globalisation. The paper will begin by examining past influences, and present and future teaching of international investment laws. Through a forward-looking lens, this paper will explore how modern legal academics navigate the legacies of colonisation within the context of globalisation and its impact in the classroom. The paper will adopt an analytical approach to viewing historical injustices and their effects on globalisation. This paper further discusses insights into pedagogical approaches that can be adopted in the classroom to teach international investment law, especially colonial legacies that continue to influence contemporary investment practices and the challenges they pose for legal education.

The paper is a confrontation of historical injustices in the post-World War 2 decolonisation period, which influenced how the early wave of bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements were constructed. For comparison, successor and new-wave investment treaties will also be discussed that show how developing countries adopt a more assertive, post-colonial posture in safeguarding their interests and how that will mould the direction of globalisation. One major theme is the move by some East Asian developing countries to secure a place in the global technological advancement milieu even where it means violating GATT/WTO norms. The paper also incorporates selected insights from my recently published book Export Restrictions and Export Controls: From WTO to the Realm of Global Security (Edward Elgar, 2023).