Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This short article provides a critique of a prominent study, Franck (2009), that used quantitative research tools in order to evaluate potential bias in investment treaty arbitration. The study has been referenced in policy and academic discussions in order to allay concerns about an apparent lack of fairness and independence in investment treaty arbitration. This critique does not suggest that there is evidence of actual bias in investment treaty arbitration. Rather, it is argued that (1) the study by Franck contained findings and conclusions that were unsupported by the results of the study, (2) there is far too little available information upon which to base reliable conclusions about possible bias using quantitative research methods, and (3) the more pressing concern is perceived bias arising from institutional factors.


Final version published in ITN Quarterly, available here. The published article can be cited as follows:

Van Harten, Gus. "Fairness and independence in investment arbitration: A critique of ‘Development and Outcomes in Investment Treaty Arbitration." ITN Quarterly 1.2 (December 2010): 7-9.