Tax & Investment Law

Tax Disputes and Investment & Commercial Arbitration

The Tax Policy Center and the Centre of Comparative, European and International Law of the University of Lausanne are delighted to announce that they are launching a research platform dedicated to tax disputes and investment & commercial arbitration. This research project, which has been granted an endowment from the School of Law, is premised on the increased importance of international arbitration in solving cross-border tax disputes. The research platform  also aims at serving as a neutral and academic forum for all stakeholders to debate most relevant issues relating to the interaction between tax disputes and internatonal arbitration. As from 2021, the research platform organizes  in particular an annual international Symposium. 

The project will in particular focus on the following core areas:

Investment arbitration and cross-border tax disputes

  • Role of investment arbitration in solving international tax disputes;
  • Impact of European Law on bilateral investment treaties;
  • Genesis and evolution of tax and investment treaties; possible influence of the recent post-BEPS multilateralization of tax treaty policy (Multilateral Instrument) on investment treaties;
  • Interpretation of tax and investment treaties under the customary rules of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties;
  • Breach of treaty obligations (treaty override or "dodging") under international law, including the rules on State Responsibility for wrongful acts;
  • The role of international organizations in shaping tax and investment treaty policy (OECD, UN, UNCITRAL, UNCTAD);
  • Comparison of the efficiency of dispute resolution mechanisms under tax and investment treaties (mutual agreement procedure, arbitration under tax treaties, investor-State arbitration).


And more specifically the following issues:


  • The issue of abuse under tax and investment treaties (abuse of process, treaty shopping, improper use of tax treaties) and the standards and remedies to address this problem (interpretative and implied prohibition of abuse, denial of benefits clauses, principal purpose test, etc.);
  • Impact of the following standards of protection on tax measures:
    • The fair and equitable treatment standard (FET);
    • The non-discrimination and most-favored nation (MFN) clauses;
    • Prohibition of expropriation;
    • Umbrella clauses.

Commercial arbitration and cross border tax disputes

  • The relevance of tax issues in commercial arbitration
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