investor-state disputes | ISDS

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) refers to a way of handling conflicts under international investment agreements whereby companies from one party are allowed to sue the government of another party. This means they can file a complaint and seek compensation for damages. Many BITs and investment chapters of FTAs allow for this if the investor’s expectation of a profit has been negatively affected by some action that the host government took, such as changing a policy. The dispute is normally handled not in a public court but through a private abritration panel. The usual venues where these proceedings take place are the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank), the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the International Court of Justice.

ISDS is a hot topic right now because it is being challenged very strongly by concerned citizens in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations, the TransPacific Partnership talks and the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.

EU Observer | 14-Jul-2020
Green groups have renewed their demand for the EU and member states to jointly withdraw from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
Council of Canadians | 13-Jul-2020
Already, Mexico’s progressive reforms have made it an ISDS target. First Majestic, a Canadian silver mining company has been threatening Mexico for the last few years, under NAFTA’s Chapter 11.
Reuters | 10-Jul-2020
Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp said it served a dispute notice to the Papua New Guinea government over the country’s refusal to extend a mining lease in the Porgera valley.
The New Republic | 9-Jul-2020
The Energy Charter Treaty, with 53 signatories, allows energy companies to sue states that make their business unprofitable.
The Ecologist | 9-Jul-2020
Corporations are busy weaponising obscure legal instruments to sue government for their actions to save lives and jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
Médias24 | 9-Jul-2020
La demande de bifurcation formulée par le Maroc en février dernier a été refusée par le CIRDI, dans l’affaire opposant le Royaume à la holding Scholz. La procédure au fond a tout juste démarré.
Tralac | 8-Jul-2020
With the growing concern over the traditional ISDS system, it is highly unlikely that the AfCFTA will include an ISDS mechanism giving investors access to go to international arbitration under conventional international tribunals.
African Law Blog | 8-Jul-2020
African states need to take a unified and proactive approach to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), in order to make a system that is fairer to Africa and more consistent.
Libération | 8-Jul-2020
Le traité sur la charte de l’énergie, en cours de renégociation, est trop archaïque pour être compatible avec les objectifs de lutte contre le dérèglement climatique.
The Business Times | 8-Jul-2020
The current pandemic, and the treaty claims which are likely to stem from it, are a reminder of the importance for ASEAN to be engaged in ongoing discussions at the United Nations of possible reform of the system of investment treaty arbitration.

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