bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

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.


Miner files mega-claim against Congo
Avima Iron Ore has become the latest mining company to file for ICC arbitration against the Republic of the Congo over the revocation of its licences, claiming US$27 billion in damages.
Minister calls for establishment of more arbitration institutions
The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, has called for the establishment and strengthening of more arbitration institutions in Africa in line with international standards.
Ecuador to seek ’payment plan’ for award to French oil company
Ecuador has 60 days to make the payment and has already contacted Perenco to start negotiations. In 2020, the country inked a $6.5 billion emergency deal with the IMF.
Ecuadorean state should pay $412 million to Perenco after losing legal dispute
The Ecuadorean country will have to face a millionaire sum for Perenco oil company after a ruling by a panel formed under the auspices of the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
Final UK FTA talks on corporate rights to sue governments alarm community groups
We call on the Australian Government to exclude ISDS from the Australia-UK FTA as has been done in the Australia-EU FTA and the RCEP.
Alarm at secret court scheme in UK-Australia trade deal
Campaigners concerned by controversial plans for tribunals where firms can seek compensation for effect of government policies.
The Cairn $1.4 billion award is patently illegal
The arbitral award has condoned the tax avoidance scheme adopted by Cairn Energy.
AfCFTA Secretariat establishes court to resolve trade disputes
The AfCFTA Secretariat has established a dispute settlement body, that will function as a full-court with the right mechanisms and structures in place to settle trade disputes.
Denying India its tax revenue is neo-colonialism. Cairn Energy is the new East India Company!
The perverse interplay of BITs with double taxation avoidance agreements has been bleeding India from the much-needed tax revenues.
Energoatom suing Russia to get compensation for assets lost in Crimea
The dispute is about the assets it lost in Crimea, including the Donuzlav wind farm, which is now located in the temporarily occupied territory.
US oil service group seeks $100 million from Mexico in arbitration claim
Finley Resources alleges Mexico violated investor protections under the NAFTA trade pact by failing to honor agreements.
Corporate courts threat to insects
The shadowy parallel court system of major trade agreements makes it difficult for countries to ban broad-spectrum insecticides.
For getting its $1.2-bn arbitration, Cairn sues Air India in US
Cairn filed the lawsuit in the US, seeking to make disinvestment-bound Air India liable for the judgment that was awarded to Cairn.
Canada BIT model (May 2021)
Turkmenistan wins $500 million claim brought before international arbitration tribunal by Turkish construction company
The government of Turkmenistan has won $500 million claim brought before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes by a Turkish construction company.
Tasks before the AfCFTA dispute settlement body
The inaugural meeting of the dispute settlement body of the AfCFTA signals the readiness of this infrastructure to take up any disputes that may arise in the course of trading amongst the member States.
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
US commodity trader Gerald Group will pay Sierra Leone $20 million and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production.
Mexico’s America Movil says loses tribunal ruling against Colombia
America Movil said the World Bank’s ICSID tribunal has ruled against the company in its dispute with Colombia and ordered it to pay $2.2 million to cover the costs of the case.
EU and India agree to resume free-trade negotiations
The European Union and India agreed to resume stalled free-trade negotiations and seek closer cooperation to combat climate change at a virtual summit on Saturday.
India has been short-changed by Vodafone and Cairn arbitral awards
The international economic law regime has stripped India of over $3.8 billion in taxes due by Vodafone and Cairn Energy, as the country is battling the Covid19 crisis.