Islamic legal tradition and the choice of investment arbitration forums

Morr Link, Yoram Z. Haftel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Does domestic legal tradition affect international cooperation and legalization? Recent studies indicate that states with Islamic law tradition (ILT) prefer more informal forums to resolve international disputes, compared to states with other legal traditions. We examine this claim in the context of the increasingly important global investment regime. We argue, specifically, that international investment agreements (IIAs) concluded by ILT states are less likely to refer disputes to the highly legalized and formal Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID), and are more likely to refer them Islamic forums, which tend to be less formal. Employing new data on forum choice in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in more than 2,600 IIAs and controlling for a battery of alternative explanations, we find substantial empirical support for the theoretical expectations. These findings underscore the significance of domestic legal traditions to international dispute settlement in the Islamic world and beyond.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)559-583
Number of pages25
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Islamic law states
  • international investment agreements
  • investment arbitration forums
  • investor-state dispute settlement
  • legal tradition
  • legalization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Islamic legal tradition and the choice of investment arbitration forums'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this