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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.


EU makes big step toward setting investor court as global norm
Brussels has taken a decisive step toward establishing its contentious new investment court as a standard framework for appeals worldwide.
Time to terminate trade & investment agreements allowing corporations to sue government
The recent investment arbitral decision against the Philippines in favor of the Belgian corporation should be a wake up call on the dangers posed by free trade and investment agreements.
World court rules Aquino’s 2011 cancellation of Belgian dredging project illegal
Orders PH govt to pay Belgian firm P0.8 billion
Brexit will need new dispute resolution mechanism
A new mechanism for dispute resolution between the UK and the EU will be needed following Brexit.
Putting human rights and investor obligations first
We urge all stakeholders involved in the EU-Mexico FTA negotiations to replace the current far-reaching liberalisation and deregulation agenda with an agreement that regulates investment
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
The report provides an analysis of the impacts of international investment agreements on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Theresa May’s Brexit plan will leave Britain subject to secret global trade courts
Experts say that to agree trade deals outside the EU, the UK will have to sign up to an “unaccountable” legal system that can force states to overturn laws corporations don’t like.
Brazil’s bilateral investment treaties: More than a new investment treaty model?
Brazil has finally become a player in the international investment regime, but it represents a peculiar case in foreign investment relations.
Air Canada appeals to World Bank over Venezuela funds
Air Canada registered a case with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes to recover USD35 million in blocked funds.
Environmentalists earn TPP victory as wins will be rare under Trump
The TransCanada lawsuit became virtually meaningless as Trump signed an executive order to continue construction of the Keystone XL
Comment: Selling the proposal for a multilateral investment court to the world
In reality, the EU’s plans are not realistic in the current international context, nor will they appease ISDS critics
India rejects attempts by EU, Canada for global investment agreement
India, along with Brazil, Argentina and some other nations, has rejected an informal attempt by the European Union and Canada to work towards a global investment agreement that would incorporate a contentious ISDS mechanism.
Iran’s accession to ICSID: What to expect?
Joining the ICSID will enhance international perceptions of Iran as a welcoming country to invest.
Trump won’t dump investor rights – and here’s why
What does Mr. Trump think about the constitution-like rights for the protection of foreign investors that are enforced via the system of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)?
Canada given advance notice of Trump’s NAFTA demands
The Americans want to discuss country of origin rules and the independent dispute-settlement mechanism.
Law in the natural resource squeeze: ’land grabbing’, investment treaties and human rights
Lorenzo Cotula discusses highlights from his latest academic piece, in which he explores whether investment treaties protect ’land grab’ deals, and how these impact the land rights of rural people.
European lawmakers vote to pursue tar sands oil friendly trade deal with Canada
EU lawmakers voted for the European Parliament to push ahead with a trade deal that could encourage Canadian tar sand oil imports and make it easier for energy companies to sue governments when environmental policies threaten their profits.
Will the RCEP morph into another TPP?
In highlighting that the drafts of many of its key chapters are substantially similar to those of the TPP, Sanya Reid Smith warns that the RCEP may end up as a replica of the former.
Lessons to learn from the demise of the TPP
With the imminent demise of the Tran-Pacific Partnership Agreement almost certain, there are many lessons to be learnt from the fraudulent free trade deal.
Romania seeks World Heritage status for Transylvania village in gold mine row
Romania has asked the United Nations to make a Transylvanian village boasting 18th century houses and intact Roman mining shafts into a World Heritage site in move that could protect it from a gold mine project.