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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.


Chinese investors file arbitration case against Ukraine over Motor Sich investment
Chinese investors have brought a $3.5 billion arbitration case against Ukraine for blocking the sale of a strategic aircraft engine maker whose fate Washington is closely following.
Clive Palmer could seek ’unquantifiable’ commonwealth compensation under Singapore free trade deal
Australian taxpayers could be on the hook for compensation following a dispute between the Western Australian government and Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy, federal budget papers reveal.
Canada trade deal shows Government’s breathtaking arrogance
Important issues raised by CETA deserve more than a ludicrous 55-minute parliament debate.
EU-China comprehensive agreement on investment: A scoping study
Given China’s unique position, the study concludes that the EU must ensure that particularly strong protections for EU regulatory policy space are included in any future investment deal.
Biden’s top trade official should work to protect governments from the rising number of corporate lawsuits
In 2020, foreign investors filed at least 51 known cases demanding huge sums from governments struggling to fight a historic pandemic.
Energy Charter Treaty reform reaches milestone, with little progress to show
A two-day conference of the 54 parties to the Energy Charter Treaty will attempt to move forward in reforming the little-known charter, decried by environmentalists for protecting fossil fuel investments and blocking international efforts to curb global warming.
Busting myths around the Energy Charter Treaty
Amidst growing concerns that the ECT undermines urgent climate action, its corporate profiteers, the ECT Secretariat, and others are spewing propaganda, promoting falsehoods about how the treaty attracts clean investment.
Urgent call from international CSO to Ecuador on the Chevron case
150 organizations are asking the government of Ecuador to appeal the arbitration award issued by the Dutch justice system in favor of the oil transnational Chevron.
Philip Morris to soon submit motion to intl arbitration in case of AMCU fine of UAH 1.2 bln
Philip Morris Ukraine, a large tobacco manufacturer, will file a motion with the ICSID in response to the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine on a UAH 1.2 billion fine.
Indiana Resources to begin arbitration again Tanzanian govt in Q1, 2021
Indiana Resources expects to begin arbitration with Tanzania over the expropriation of the Ntaka Hill nickel project and other alleged breaches of the UK-Tanzania BIT early 2021.
Russia suffers new blow in $50 billion Yukos case
The Netherlands’ top court ruled that shareholders in dismantled oil giant Yukos can continue to pursue Russia for $50 billion in compensation pending a final judgement in a long legal saga.
“It did not go well” - Barrick continues pressure on Papua New Guinea government while ignoring human rights
Barrick is offering the government of Papua New Guinea to pause legal proceedings upon signing of a framework agreement to reverse the decision not to grant it a licence renewal for its former Porgera mine.
EU Commission could pull out of controversial energy treaty
The European Commission has confirmed for the first time that Brussels could withdraw from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which critics say shields the fossil-fuel industry.
Seoul rejects Lone Star’s out-of-court ISD settlement offer
The South Korean government has opted for an international arbitration over its longstanding dispute with Lone Star Funds after it turned down the US fund’s final $870-million out-of-court settlement proposal.
South Korean government likely to reject Lone Star’s offer
Lone Star Funds, which is in litigation against the South Korean government at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, suggested US$870 million as a concession.
OPL245 scandal: Coalition urges World Bank group not to protect oil giants
The groups said they are concerned about the ICSID’s long-standing failure to promulgate clear rules for addressing cases where corruption has been alleged.
Egypt wins international arbitration against two Spanish companies demanding €236m compensation
The ICSID has turned down a lawsuit filed by Spanish companies Cementos La Union and Aridos Jativa against the Egyptian State, demanding a compensation of more than €236 million.
Reko Diq Case: NAB unearths corruption to the tune of billions
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Balochistan has collected irrefutable evidence revealing that billions of rupees have been lost to the national exchequer in the Reko Diq project after the bureau scrutinized its 30-year record.
Pakistan seeks to reform int’l investment regime
Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the formation of a working group of experts for reforming Pakistan’s international investment regime.
Lupaka submits request for arbitration claim against the Republic of Peru
The dispute stems from the Community of Parán’s actions, which invaded Lupaka’s project held through Invicta Mining Corp.