Cooling Off Period

by Aravind Ganesh

This paper was first published as ‘MPILux Working Paper 7 (2017)’. The full and final text is now available online as an entry of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law, published by OUP at

Introduction: ‘Cooling off periods’, also known as ‘waiting periods’, are a feature of Bilateral Investment Treaty (‘BIT’) or state-investor arbitration, whereby parties seeking to initiate arbitrationproceedings are required to hold off for a specified period, during which an amicablesettlement should be attempted. A recent study estimates that some 90% of all BITs containclauses imposing such requirements (Pohl, Mashigo, and Nohen, 2012, 17). Similar practicesare found in other fields such as commercial arbitration, trade law, and the peacefulsettlement of international disputes (see Guyana-Venezuela Border Dispute Bryan Treaties 1913-14).