Australian COVID-19 measures and its international investment obligations

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Purpose: This paper aims to examine the prospect for international investment disputes in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic due to measures implemented by the Australian government to tackle the pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: Doctrinal research. Contains qualitative analysis. Findings: This paper finds that claims based on the protections in the International Investment Agreements (IIAs) signed by Australia are unlikely to succeed and that Australia’s COVID-19 measures can be justified as necessary measures under the general and security exception clauses included in more recent IIAs and under customary international law. Originality/value: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars have written papers apprehending possible claims by international investors against emergency measures adopted by host countries to face the pandemic which might also have damaged the interest of the foreign investors. The existing literature is too vague and general. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper that draws some specific conclusions in this regard applicable to the COVID-19 regulatory measures taken by Australia. While the existing literature projects the possibility of such investor claims, this paper argues that at least no such claim would succeed against the COVID-19 measures taken by Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-214
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of International Trade Law and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2022


  • Australian measures
  • COVID-19 measures
  • Investor-claims
  • Investor-state arbitration
  • Obligation under IIAs

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