Quarterly Publication

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, LL.B; LL.M in Private Law, LL.M in International Business Law (Shahid Beheshti University of Iran); LL.M in International Oil and Gas Law & Policy (CEPMLP, University of Dundee, UK); DPhil in Law (University of York, UK); Email: hamid.r.younesi@alumni.york.ac.uk



The present article aims to argue indirect expropriation in international petroleum agreements and to analyse the response of international arbitrations. In particular, international arbitral awards by the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, the Yukos case as an Energy Charter Treaty Arbitration and certain North American Free Trade Agreement cases have been examined. The recent trend shows that taking of foreign investors’ property may take place not only through legislation or nationalisation but also by indirect methods that can have the same effect as direct expropriation. Indirect expropriation does not necessarily require transfer of legal title from the international oil company to the host state. Hence, it is difficult to make a distinction between legitimate regulation and measures, which are tantamount to expropriation with the payment of compensation. The identification of an indirect expropriation is complex and depends upon the examination of the legitimate expectations of the investor concerning enjoyment of its investment. Host governments may employ different methods to achieve what amounts to direct taking, but without acknowledging it as such, to avoid legal consequences of expropriation and then payment of compensation.


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