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Fellmeth article published in journal

July 21, 2010

An article by Professor Aaron Fellmeth, “Below-market Interest in International Claims Against States,” was published in the June edition of the Journal of International Economic Law.

The abstract: The article deals with an important but strange contradiction in international legal practice. The official doctrine provides that states must fully compensate all damage caused by an internationally wrongful act. Yet, when it comes to compensating the injured party for the delay caused by the state’s failure to compensate promptly (usually awarded in the form of interest on the direct damages), international tribunals almost universally shy away from awarding the full economic measure of interest. The consequences of the systematic undercompensation of claimants in international law assume special gravity because of the long period of time that typically elapses between the injury and the award by a tribunal or claims commission. The delay commonly exceeds three years and sometimes extends to 10 or 15, during which time the value of an interest award begins to overshadow the value of the direct damages award itself. This institutionalized undercompensation of claimants occurs in every international human rights case, and more often than not elsewhere, from wrongful expropriation of property cases to breach of international contract claims. This article analyzes and attempts to explain this disconnection between doctrine and practice, and to relate it to the nature of the international decision-making process.

To read the article, click here.

Fellmeth, a Faculty Fellow in the College’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation and in the Center for Law and Global Affairs, has studied international law from an interdisciplinary perspective since 1991. His research and teaching focus on international law jurisprudence and the formation of rules of customary international law in contested subjects, such as evolving human rights issues, espionage and covert action, psychological manipulation, new technologies in conventional and asymmetrical armed conflict, and the internationalization of intellectual property rights. Fellmeth also is a leading expert on the law and regulation of international business transactions and intellectual property with a special focus on patent law and technology. He teaches Public International Law, International Business Transactions, Research Methods in International Law, International Trade Law, and Patent Law.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law