Howard Mann and The Battle between Private “Justice” and Public Law

Posted on Friday, January 17, 2020

Students, faculty, staff, trade officials, representatives from the federal government and members of the public came out on Wednesday January 15 to hear Howard Mann deliver the Annual Hyman Soloway Lecture. Dr. Mann spoke on “International Arbitration and Globalization: The Battle between Private “Justice” and Public Law". He is a leading international lawyer specializing in international investment and sustainable development law. His track record is marked by innovation and a commitment to achieving forward-looking results. His talk was sponsored by the Hyman Soloway Chair in Business and Trade law.

Following an introduction by current Hyman Soloway Chair, Professor Tony Vanduzer, LL.B. 1982, Dr. Mann began his presentation by telling attendees that he hoped to leave them with interesting new thoughts to ponder, which he most certainly did.

This year’s annual Hyman Soloway lecture considered the growing role of international arbitration through a governance and globalization lens. The continued expansion of so-called private justice remedies through arbitration into in an increasingly complex public law context, raises systemic questions about who gets to litigate what and where, and how private actors are increasingly taking over the adjudication of public law issues.

Privileged access to justice through arbitration, diminishing the role of national courts, and the impacts of creating rights and remedies for one type of economic actor, foreign investors, that prevail over the rights and remedies of other actors, are among the issues that were brought up.

Dr. Mann argued that the arbitration system does not embody justice because it does not reliably lead to conclusions that are correct in law. He pointed out that the correctness of law is important, asking “if correctness of law isn’t a core value, how do you promote that system as something that respects the rule of law?”. He also called for increased diversity of thought and experience among arbitrators and argued that there is an “unresolvable mismatch between public law adjudication in arbitration and international justice.”

Over his career, Dr. Mann has advised more than 70 governments on international and domestic investment law issues. His work is anchored by a commitment to achieving strong results that make a difference in the long-term in achieving sustainable development through investment. He has published extensively and is a frequent speaker at conferences around the world.

The event was followed by a reception in Fauteux Hall. Many thanks to Professor Mann for delivering this thought-provoking lecture.

 

 

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