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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.


Uber threatens Colombia with treaty-based arbitration after ban on use of its ride-sharing app
The US-based ridesharing services platform Uber Technologies and its Colombian subsidiary, Uber Colombia, have threatened to initiate arbitration proceedings against Colombia under the Colombia-US Trade Promotion Agreement.
“A la carte” justice for transnational corporations?
At a time when 3,400 trade and investment agreements protect the interests of transnational corporations, there is no international treaty requiring them to uphold human rights and environmental protection.
Winshear delivers notice of intent to submit a claim to arbitration under Canada-Tanzania agreement for the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments
The dispute arises out of certain acts and omissions of the United Republic of Tanzania, relating to the SMP Gold Project, says the company.
Pakistan moves US court to stop over $6bn fine in Reko Diq case
Pakistan has asked a US federal court to pause an Australian copper company’s bid to enforce a $6 billion arbitral award while it looks to have the award nixed.
How ISDS corporate privileges risk to undermine community struggles
Inspiring people fought toxic gold mines, dirty oil drilling and greedy luxury real estate projects. Now, costly investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) lawsuits risk to reverse their community victories.
Ncell backed by international tribunal in Nepal tax row
The ICSID has issued an interim order preventing Nepal’s government from collecting capital gains tax on Axiata’s acquisition of Ncell.
China’s new policy on foreign investment and the security of intellectual property
Proper mandatory licenses will be exempt from claims for expropriation under the China BIT model.
Telenor’s legal notice through the eyes of int’l investment law
Telenor, the principal investor of Bangladesh’s leading mobile phone operator Grameen Phone, has served a legal notice to the President of Bangladesh seeking arbitration.
Why don’t we just… wake up to the threat of ISDS?
Commercial ISDS adjudications trump democratically established laws and controls.
Ncell pays Rs 4.5 billion of its total CGT dues
The ICSID had issued an interim order directing the government not to take any steps to enforce its decision to collect the outstanding capital gains tax.
Govt told not to collect CGT from Ncell
A US-based international court issues interim order directing the Nepal government not to impose capital gains tax on Ncell buyout deal for the time being.
Lupaka files notice of intent to submit a claim to arbitration under Canada-Peru FTA
The dispute is related to the Invicta gold mine project and the blockade erected by the community of Parán in October 2018 wherein it prevented any access to the mining site.
People power in Romania stopped a mining project. now the corporation is suing for billions of dollars
Romanian and US environmental justice activists demonstrated in Washington, DC, outside a World Bank tribunal hearing on a case brought by Canadian-based Gabriel Resources.
Beyond repair? The Energy Charter Treaty
An obscure investment agreement, the Energy Charter Treaty, threatens to undermine bold climate action to transform Europe’s energy system.
Romania agrees to pay large compensations to Romanian-Swedish investors
The Government took this decision to unlock the accounts of Romania’s air control company Romatsa, frozen by the Miculas.
Sweden sued for $1.8 billion due to environmental regulation
For the first time, Sweden has recieved a notice of arbitration for banning the exploration and mining of uranium.
US banned climate from UK trade talks
The US has banned any mention of climate change in US-UK trade talks.
Korean company starts arbitration against India
South Korean state owned power utility Kowepo has begun international arbitration proceedings against India in Singapore for not honouring a fuel supply commitment to its Maharashtra power plant.
EU governments under pressure to quit Energy Charter Treaty
Climate campaigners are demanding that European Union countries pull out of the treaty unless they can negotiate an end to the pact’s investor-state dispute mechanism.