Who Writes Arbitral Awards? A Computational Analysis of Investment Treaty Arbitration

PluriCourts Lunch Seminar with Malcolm Langford and Runar Hilleren Lie.

The remarkable increase in the number of cases being decided by a small group of arbitrators increases the likelihood that these rely on assistants, tribunal secretaries or other members of law firms to assist in drafting of awards. Such “ghostwriting” may have potential impact on the perceived legitimacy of a given award.

Using a baseline of scientific articles of known origin, this paper represents a first step in computationally determining true authorship. In the paper we attempt to predict the likelihood that the chair of a panel wrote the award by computing distance scores with their other writings (and the writings of other leading arbitrators). This analysis allows us to determine whether some arbitrator’s awards bear less resemblance to their other writings – generally or in particular cases.


PluriCourt Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: Investment
Published Sep. 25, 2018 2:03 PM - Last modified Nov. 20, 2018 3:34 PM