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Human rights as a litigation tool in international arbitration

2:00pm-4:30pm | 12 March | Madrid

The arbitration community is becoming increasingly aware that international arbitration and human rights are no longer two separate and unrelated dimensions of legal discourse and practice, as old wisdom suggested. 

Most jurisdictions consider arbitration a means for the settlement of disputes which is alternative, but functionally equivalent, to State court justice. Hence, “access to justice”, as recognized for instance by art. 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and its corollaries on fair trial, due process, equality of arms, contradictoire, may be a relevant source of arbitration law. 

Human rights arguments are increasingly finding their way also in the context of investor-State disputes: investors may draw from the human right to property when bringing claims for expropriation (including in novel areas such as bail-ins of financial institutions), while States may invoke their duty to ensure full protection of human rights as a defense against investors’ claims. 

More in general, a growing awareness of the relationship between business and human rights is emerging internationally, as shown by recent instruments adopted by the UN on “corporate social responsibility” and by the IBA on “climate justice”. 

For all these reasons, arbitral tribunals and institutions, State courts, parties, and counsel should consider human rights law when making decisions, defining litigation strategies, negotiating arbitration agreements, enforcing awards. 

Academic Direction: 

• Álvaro Lobato, Partner at DLA Piper, Member of Fide´s Board 
• Jesús Almoguera, Lawyer at J. Almoguera Abogados. Professor of Corporate Law, ICADE, Universidad Pontificia Comillas. Member of Fide´s Academic Council 
• Juan Delgado, Director of Global Economics Group. Member of Fide´s Academic Council 

Schedule: The session will be held between 14:00 and 16:30 hours, reserving the first half-hour for an informal snack.