28 February 2019: Research Fellow Dafina Atanasova Presents Paper at Workshop Organised by Amsterdam Center for International Law
Research Fellow Dafina Atanasova participated in a two-day workshop titled ‘Engaging with Domestic Law in International Adjudication Factfinding or Transnational Law-Making?’ organised by the Amsterdam Center for International Law under the University of Amsterdam.
Dr Atanasova’s presentation—‘What Do We Actually Disagree About When Discussing the Fact-Law Dichotomy in International Adjudicators’ Engagement with Domestic Law?’—kick-started the workshop in a panel chaired by Professor Ingo Venzke. The paper demonstrates that the classic way of seeing domestic law in international adjudication along a fact-law divide serves as a rhetorical device with limited analytical import. Looking at the practice of investment arbitrators and WTO adjudicators, the paper brings to light the fallacy of relying on whether an adjudicator classifies domestic law as either ‘law’ or ‘fact’ for understanding its actual procedural place. It proposes a more granular analytical framework for this understanding, informed by questions that define the procedural place of foreign law in conflict of laws and suggesting the ‘otherness’ of domestic law as a more attuned lens. Indeed, judicial practice in both conflict of laws and international economic law shows that it is the recognition that different legal systems are habitually created, adjudicated and enforced by distinct, ie ‘other’ institutions, which better explains adjudicators’ approaches, independently of the formal characterisation of the ‘other’ law along a fact-law divide.