Publication Title

Washington University Global Studies Law Review


This article revisits one of the most controversial issues of international investment law, namely the question of the effect of fork-in- the-road (FITR) clauses contained in investment treaties. It provides a comprehensive and detailed examination of the relevant arbitral case law, highlighting the co-existence of two formalistic approaches (based respectively on the distinction between treaty and contract claims and the lis pendens-related triple-identity test) with the more pragmatic fundamental-basis test established by the ICSID tribunal in Pantechniki v. Albanania and subsequently endorsed in H&H v. Egypt. This contribution critically examines these two strands of case law, emphasizing both the interpretive flaws of formalistic approaches and the inherent vagueness and ambiguity of the fundamental-basis test. In an attempt to overcome the deadlock resulting from the clash between formalistic and pragmatic decisions, this article offers a functional analysis of FITR clauses, providing new insights and guidance to treaty drafters and interpreters.