CWR > Volume 5(2); 2019 > Articles
Research Paper
Published online: September 1, 2019

A Balance between Procedural Justice and Substantive Fairness: Improving the ICSID Arbitration Annulment System

Huan Qi & Yutian Guan
China University of Political Science and Law
No.25 Xi Tu Cheng Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100088, P.R. China.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As the most important dispute resolution mechanism in international investment, the ICSID system is valued for the efficiency of its proceedings and the finality of its awards. Due to the significance of ICSID to international investment laws, the international arbitration community has been calling for a high degree of substantive fairness in ICSID awards. However, based on past decisions, ICSID has not been able to strike a balance between procedural justice and substantive fairness. The drafters of the ICSID Convention intended the ICSID internal annulment system to be an error correction mechanism or a remedy for the parties to a ruling, when an arbitral tribunal or an arbitration report seriously violated the provisions. The ICSID annulment procedure is different from the appeal mechanism, and its review is based on extremely limited reasons and does not include a review of legal errors. Currently, the third working group of UNCITRAL is reforming the ISDS system, and the revision of the ICSID arbitration rules is also underway. This article discusses how to develop the current ICSID annulment system to promote greater substantive fairness in ICSID decisions.

Keywords : ICSID Convention, Arbitration Annulment System, Arbitration Remedy Mechanism, Manifest Excess of Power, Substantive Fairness

View the Full Text