Cost Allocation in Investment Arbitration: Back Toward Diversification

Vasani, Baiju S.; Ugale, Anastasiya

In 2006, the Thunderbird tribunal, operating under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, called for the harmonization of cost-allocation approaches in commercial and investment arbitration. Subsequent tribunals appear to be heeding Thunderbird's call paving a trend in favor of the so-called "costs follow the event" (CFtE) approach and its variations. Generally, this approach prescribes the shifting of arbitral costs and reasonable legal fees to the unsuccessful party (or based on parties' relative success) and has historically been prevalent in commercial arbitration. By contrast, the more traditional approach in investment arbitration has been to share the costs of arbitration equally, save for special circumstances, with each party covering its own legal fees (traditional approach). In the wake of what appears to be an emerging trend in favor of a default CFtE custom, it is time to revisit the idea of whether a single harmonized approach to cost allocation is really appropriate. We suggest that it most likely is not.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Columbia FDI Perspectives, 100
Published Here
September 23, 2013


A Chinese version of this paper is available at