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.


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.
What is Dubrovnik today?
A golf course, free-trade agreements, and the fight for the soul of a city
Open letter to governments on ISDS and COVID-19
We urge you to take immediate action to ensure that the duty of governments to regulate in the public interest is safeguarded and put beyond the scope of ISDS claims.
Foreign investment, knowledge and international arbitration: inside a research trip
International investment law and investor dispute arbitration too often fail to notice the concerns of local actors. Governance of these international mechanisms needs to take a more holistic, development-based view of the issues.
NextEra wins millionaire renewables lawsuit against Spain
The ICSID has lifted the suspension on the execution of the €290 million award NextEra obtained a year ago.
Ray of hope for Reko Diq penalty being nixed
Pakistan’s chances of having its $6 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case annulled have received a boost with a committee of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Preparing for the COVID aftermath
Arbitration cases due to COVID emergency measures would exacerbate the challenges that public budgets are already facing due to the need for stimulus measures and the difficulty in collecting government revenue.
Africa should resist acceding to the Energy Charter Treaty
Joining the Energy Charter Treaty could cost developing countries money that is urgently needed to fight Covid-19 and a loaming economic crisis. The Energy Charter Treaty has become increasingly controversial.
Survival clause under Aus-Indo bit will not survive the implementation of IA-CEPA
On 5 February 2020, Australia and Indonesia signed an exchange of letters agreeing to the termination of the Aus-Indo BIT and its sunset clause.
Why we need a moratorium on investment disputes during COVID-19
We call for a moratorium on investor-state arbitration cases and clarity of legal principles to ensure that governments have the policy space to protect their citizenry and combat the epidemic.
EU Commission launches public consultation on protection of intra-EU investment
The EU Commission has launched a public consultation calling for comments on its initiative to improve the protection of intra-EU investment. This initiative could lead to the adoption of new rules enhancing investors’ rights vis-à-vis EU Member States and to the creation of new enforcement mechanisms for investors within the EU.
Ecuagoldmining v Ecuador: Mining, the environment, and international arbitration
Ecuagoldmining’s estimated $20 million investment so far could turn into a $469 million award, should it emerge victorious in an arbitration proceeding.
Lone Star hints intent on out-of-court settlement with Seoul over KEB dispute
US private equity firm Lone Star Funds suggested it was open to “amicable and sensible” out-of-court option to settle the longstanding dispute with the Korean government.
Companies sue states for ­ climate-protection measures
On the basis of the Energy Charter Treaty, companies are suing countries for damages when the latter decide to phase out or limit the use of fossil fuels.
Corporate lawsuits could devastate poor countries grappling with Covid-19
Wealthy corporations may use trade courts to keep public health measures from cutting into their profits.
Trade war: UK government blasted for ’unacceptable’ aspect of US trade negotiations
The UK Department for International Trade has been blasted for its claims that the UK has enough trading clout to assert itself in US trade talks, amid concerns.
Nissan settles dispute with Tamil Nadu over unpaid dues - sources
As part of the settlement, the Japanese automaker is expected to receive between $185 million and $238 million, two sources aware of the matter said.
Justice and reparation: the struggle of Chevron-affected communities in COVID-19 times
Indigenous communities call for international solidarity to support for the vindication of rights of the comunities and peoples affected by corporate impunity and their struggle for a dignified life.
Wind farm owner sues Romania at WB’s arbitrage court
Cyprus-based offshore EP Wind Project (Rom) Six Ltd claims that Romania has breached the Energy Charter Treaty.