2011 Lalive Lecture delivered by Prof. David D. Caron (June 2011)

23 June 2011

On 23 June 2011, together with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEID), the firm hosted the fifth Lalive lecture in Geneva.  This year, the lecture was delivered by Prof. David D. Caron, Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley Law, and President of the American Society of International Law, on “International Courts and Tribunals: Their role amidst a world of Courts”.  Professor Caron argued that the debate on the function of international courts and tribunals could best be understood in terms of the distinction between their primary and secondary functions.  While the primary function of an international court and tribunal is to resolve disputes, there is less consensus on their secondary functions, which often depend on what policy-makers seek to achieve by establishing such courts and tribunals.  The secondary functions may relate to a variety of public policy goals – restoring peace and security, enforcing rule of law, promotion of foreign investment, etc.  Thus, for instance, the function of an investment treaty tribunal may be defined more broadly or more narrowly, depending on how one understands the relationship between their primary and secondary functions.  This difference is often reflected in how investment treaty tribunals approach and apply the jurisprudence of other tribunals.


The event was particularly well attended and gave rise to a lively debate.  It was followed by a cocktail reception at HEID.  The lecture will be published in the ICSID Review in the autumn of 2011.

The purpose of the lecture series, which commenced in 2007 with H. E. Judge Rosalyn Higgins, President of the International Court of Justice, is to create a forum for intellectual reflection on recent developments in the interface between public and private international law. The series is named in honor of Me Jean-Flavien Lalive and Professor Pierre Lalive, founders of the firm, who have dedicated their professional and academic careers to the interaction between these two fields. (For more information, see the Academics section of LALIVE’s website.)

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