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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.


Japan and UK may forgo dispute settlement system in trade deal
Japan and the U.K. are studying a plan of not including an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system in the bilateral trade deal they are currently negotiating.
Indian dry bulk terminal business of French group Louis Dreyfus Armateurs collapses
ALBA Asia Pvt Ltd, the Indian dry bulk port operating company controlled by French shipping group Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS (LDA), has collapsed with state-run Visakhapatnam Port Trust terminating a contract for running a dry bulk terminal at the port just five years into a 30-year deal.
MPs try to block corporations using new trade deals for lawsuits
MPs are set to try to force the government to block corporate lawsuits relating to future trade deals, in a bid to safeguard human rights.
Green NGOs demand EU dumps controversial energy treaty
Green groups have renewed their demand for the EU and member states to jointly withdraw from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
A Canadian mining company is threatening to sue Mexico to avoid paying taxes... and is asking Canada to help them do it
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.
Barrick Gold sends dispute notice to Papua New Guinea over Porgera mine
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 obscure treaty that could kill a global green recovery
The Energy Charter Treaty, with 53 signatories, allows energy companies to sue states that make their business unprofitable.
Corporations to sue states for pandemic billions
Corporations are busy weaponising obscure legal instruments to sue government for their actions to save lives and jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
Investor-state dispute settlement in Africa and the AfCFTA Investment Protocol
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.
PAW2020: The future of ISDS in Africa
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.
The risk of investor-state disputes in Asean in the aftermath of Covid-19
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.
Revisiting BITs in the wake of Covid-19
Amidst the global risk of ISDS claims, it is incumbent to shed light on Bangladesh’s BIT structure and its feasibility to confront ISDS claims in the backdrop of Covid-19 regulatory space.
Organization in charge of Jeju Yerae Residential Resort Complex to pay over US$100 million to Malaysia’s Berjaya Group
Berjaya is to receive US$104.3 million and to withdraw the notice of intent that it submitted to seek investor-state dispute settlement arbitration for a sum of US$3.42 billion.
EU must end investment protection in the fossil sector
The Energy Charter Treaty, which dates back to the 1990s, severely restricts Europe’s ability to change regulations in the energy sector, with many EU member states facing court actions worth billions of euros, write a group of MEPs.
Chinese investments enjoy treaty protection. Beijing can drag New Delhi to tribunals
India has a Bilateral Investment Treaty with China since 2007. The treaty provides foreign investors the right to fair and equitable treatment.
Civil society groups sound alarm over COVID-19 claims in ’corporate courts’
Countries could be facing a wave of cases from transnational corporations suing governments over actions taken to respond to the Covid pandemic using a system known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. Some 630 organisations from across the world, representing hundreds of millions of people, are calling on governments in an open letter to urgently take action to shut down this threat.
Countries serious about climate change should leave the Energy Charter Treaty, says former ECT official
Interview with Yamina Saheb, former head of unit in the Energy Charter Treaty Secretariat .
Prairie Mining secures litigation funding to sue Poland
The claims had arisen out of certain measures taken by Poland, allegedly in breach of the Energy Charter Treaty and the Australia-Poland Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Morocco’s new model BIT: Innovative features and policy considerations
In the face of the increasing number of claims brought by investors against host states on the basis of BITs and the exorbitant amounts awarded to investors, Morocco has undertaken a review of its model BIT using a flexible and rational approach.
Potential ISDS problems post Covid-19
The Transpacific Partnership Agreement involves investor - state dispute settlement clauses, which large companies may use ISDS to sue governments for actions they took to stop the spread of the virus.