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UNIGE-IISD Series on Investment Disputes: The case for an international court of civil justice

A panel discussion will feature Maya Steinitz, whose recent book argues for a court for victims to pursue legal action against multinational corporations responsible for disasters, atrocities and other harms.

February 7, 2019 7:00 pm


We live in a world in which the victims of cross-border mass torts de facto lack a court to turn to in order to pursue legal action against multinational corporations responsible for disasters, atrocities and other harms.

This is what Maya Steinitz argues in her book The Case for an International Court of Civil Justicewhich was the feature of our panel discussion on February 8, 2019, from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Drinks will be served after the event.

The event took place at the University of Geneva, Room 1160, Uni-Mail, Boulevard du Pont-d'Arve 40 1205 Genève. 

The discussions touched on various themes from the book, which was published by Cambridge University Press, including: 

  • While tort victims ultimately receive no redress, corporations must nonetheless spend large sums to defend against sprawling, parallel litigations. 
  • The only way to provide a fair, legitimate, and efficient process for both victims and corporations is to create an International Court of Civil Justice (ICCJ), highlighting justice-based and economics-based arguments in favor of an ICCJ. 
  • A procedural and institutional design for such a court is needed which addresses issues such as personal and subject-matter jurisdiction, remedies, appeal, preclusion and judicial independence.

Nathalie Bernasconi, IISD's Group Director of the Economic Law and Policy Program, moderated the event. Maya Steinitz, University of Iowa School of Law, spoke with Carlos Lopez, International Commission of Jurists, Kinda Mohamadieh, South Center, and Elisabeth Tuerk, Chief International Investment Agreements Section, UNCTAD, as commentators.


Professor Maya Steinitz teaches civil procedure, international arbitration, international business transactions, and corporations. Her research focuses on a wide range of topics including the intersection of civil litigation and corporate law, public and business international law, transnational dispute resolution, and the global legal profession. She has taught courses in comparative law, international law, and international dispute resolution at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Tel Aviv University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to joining academia she served as a litigator at Latham & Watkins, LLP and Flemming, Zulack & Williamson LLP and clerked for the Hon. Esther Hayut, currently the Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. Professor Steinitz remains active in international dispute resolution and regularly serves as an arbitrator, expert, and counsel in international and domestic arbitrations