Israr Khan



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Israr Khan

DPhil candidate, Faculty of Law



I am a DPhil scholar in Socio-Legal Studies at the Faculty of Law, where I focus my research on Investor-State Disputes (ISD) within China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

I am a member of Regent's Park College and serve as an active Committee member at Oxford Union. Prior to joining Oxford, I was called to the Bar of England and Wales. My undergraduate studies were completed at the University of Aberdeen, where I pursued a degree in Scottish and English Law.

DPhil topic

'Analysing China's approach to investor-state disputes under the Belt and Road Initiative'

This DPhil project examines China's approach to investor-state disputes (ISD) under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and investigates whether there is a distinctly Chinese approach to ISD. By exploring this question, the project also aims to analyse the potential impact of China's approach on the global regime of investor-state arbitration.

To address these questions, the project conducts research through three case studies: the Malaysian East Coast Rail Link dispute, Zhongshan Fucheng v. Nigeria, and China Electric Power Equipment and Technology's payback issues in Pakistan. The project finds that China has adopted a three-pronged approach, which involves a commitment to current investment arbitration regimes in its investment treaties, encouraging its own dispute bodies to provide ISD services, and adopting an informal approach to ISD, acting as an intermediary to diplomatically resolve disputes on behalf of its investors.

The project also examines the various factors that may influence China's approach to ISD, such as the strategic importance of the BRI project and country to China, the nature of the relationship between China and the investor company, and the host states' pre-existing relationship with the international investment arbitration regime. These factors can be further explored through empirical research.