Yasmin Salama, Ph.D. Student

Yasmin started her Ph.D. in international investment law and transnational corruption at the Peter A. Allard School of Law in January 2017. Her research addresses the need to look beyond the reach of the current anti-corruption framework, proposing a new way of tackling demand-side corruption by utilizing arbitral tribunals. The current anti-corruption regime clearly falls short of providing an adequate venue wherein responsibility for the solicitation of a foreign investor could be invoked. For example, in World Duty Free v. The Republic of Kenya, the then-president of Kenya was found guilty of receiving a bribe from a foreign investor but was never prosecuted for his actions in either national courts or an international forum, despite being no longer immune from suit under the Kenyan Constitution. Instead, he was allowed to escape liability for expropriating an investment based on the tactical challenge of the “corruption defence”.

Yasmin’s doctoral dissertation is intended to analyze whether employing the contributory fault standard in arbitral cases involving corruption allegations could contribute to the global fight against corruption, by unveiling corrupt practices and penalizing them on the demand side, thereby reducing the available market for them. She will examine whether this standard applies to the facts of an incident of transnational bribery in an arbitration dispute and will also conduct in-depth research of selected cases of arbitral practice in order to identify the evidentiary and investigatory challenges that may frustrate the application of this standard by future tribunals and propose solutions to this impasse. Her research will also touch upon a larger question about the viability of establishing extra-territorial jurisdiction to cover the demand side of transnational bribery.

Pursuing Ph.D. in this area complements the career path that she started mapping out by specializing in international investment law and completing her LL.M. in the same field. For the past three years, she has worked as a State counselor at the Foreign Disputes Department in the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority (ESLA), which represents the interests of the State in both commercial and investment arbitration cases. Her practice involved different institutional and ad-hoc arbitral cases, particularly in construction and development and oil and gas industry. Prior to joining ESLA, she had built on a burgeoning expertise in contracts management while working for a state-owned entity and a leading multinational company in the oil and gas industry. In this capacity, she took part in the negotiation process of the agreement establishing the African Petroleum Institute with relevant Egyptian authorities, which acts as a broadened cooperative platform dedicated to help the African nations manage their large oil resources.

Yasmin earned her LL.B. with honors from Ain Shams University in Egypt and completed her LL.M. at University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Her LL.M. thesis demonstrated how economic stimulation under NAFTA’s model of liberalized investment is coupled with a weak environmental institutional framework. Her research particularly focused on the clash between the full realization of foreign investors’ rights under NAFTA’s Chapter 11 and the protection of environment and studied the impact of its dispute resolution mechanism on critical areas of environmental policy-making.

Beside her Ph.D. project, she occasionally provides support to a local risk management and investigations firm that mainly specializes in regulatory and reputational due diligence in regard to compliance with anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws, in addition to asset tracing and litigation support.

Yasmin is a recipient of the Allard Scholar Graduate Fellowship. Yasmin says that she was thrilled and honored to learn of her selection for this award and deeply grateful for the support of her supervisor, Professor Ljiljana Biukovic, and that of the law school. Her educational pursuits would not have been possible without this generous funding opportunity which will further assist in achieving her educational and career aspirations, and increase her chances of success.

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