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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.


New arbitration between Renco Group and Peru at the PCA
The arbitration between the US mining company Renco Group and Peru in relation to the metallurgical deposit in La Oroya was reopened, at the request of the mining company.
UNCITRAL and ISDS reform: Plausible folk theories
As observers of the UNCITRAL process, we watch the debates with great interest, writing about the emergence of different camps, giving perspectives on how the process fits within broader geopolitical developments, and offering potential models for moving forward.
Court reinstates order for Russia to pay $50 bln over Yukos
A Dutch appeals court reinstated an international arbitration panel’s order that it should pay $50 billion compensation to shareholders in former oil company Yukos.
ExxonMobil, Canada enter landmark settlement in NAFTA arbitration
As a long-running dispute between Exxon Mobil Corp. and the government of Canada reached a multimillion-dollar settlement, lawyers for ExxonMobil announced.
Tanzania reviews law on mediation for investors
One of Tanzania’s concessions to Barrick in the new deal is the right to seek international arbitration in case of disputes.
Vodafone, Cairn eligible for settling disputes under tax amnesty scheme
Vodafone’s dispute relates to its $11 billion acquisition of a 67% stake in the mobile-phone business owned by Hutchison Whampoa. Cairn Energy is contesting a big tax bill that Indian government raised for a 2006 transaction.
Odebrecht takes Peru to arbitration over failed gas pipeline investment
Brazil construction company Odebrecht SA has taken Peru to arbitration over a failed $2 billion investment in a gas pipeline.
Uber ready to take dispute with Colombia to international arbitration: regional manager
The ride-hailing firm said its initial calculations suggest damages from suspending its service in Colombia will exceed $250 million.
ICSID approves Pakistan’s review plea against $6bn Reko Diq fine
The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes has approved Pakistan’s petition for a review in the Reko Diq case in which the country was slapped with a $6 billion fine.
Rental power: Government submits dispute settlement documents to ICSID
Pakistan’s team exchanged its draft agreement with Turkish team’s draft and prepared a consensus document which will again be shared with the federal cabinet for approval before presenting it to the ICSID.
Letter from Africa CSOs and trade unions to African delegates at the UNCITRAL round
We civil society organizations and trade unions from the African continent express our concerns about the proposal presented by the European Union to establish a multilateral investment court and support further reaching reforms of ISDS.
Pakistan waives off over $1.26mn duty on Turkish company Karkey
Pakistan approved waiving off all port dues/charges amounting to Rs194,951,059 on 31-1-2020 or till the vessels leave the port accruing against Karkey.
ICSID’s longest running dispute: Tribunal dismisses application for annulment of resubmission award
An ad hoc committee has recently dismissed the claimants’ application to annul a resubmission award in Victor Pey Casado and President Allende Foundation v Republic of Chile.
PM Orban: We want to register Rosia Montana with UNESCO
The Romanian Government wants to register the Rosia Montana site on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is to hold consultations on this topic with the representatives of the Romanian state in the litigation at ICSID.
CETA: Rights for Canadian multinationals
CETA strengthens the legal position of North American companies in the EU and exposes European governments and taxpayers to potential claims.
ISDS reform: Designing permanent institutions at Working Group III
The UNCITRAL Working Group III turned squarely to designing permanent institutions: a standing appellate mechanism and a multilateral investment court (MIC).
India inks first investment treaty with Brazil post-approval of new templates in 2015
India inked an Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty with Brazil – the first one after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government in December 2015 approved a new template for such bilateral pacts.
Oil major settles huge capital gains tax bill to Vietnam after Finance Uncovered investigation
When Vietnam signalled it would claim the tax due, oil giant ConocoPhillips issued a pre-emptive legal strike using an arbitration process under the UK-Vietnam bilateral investment treaty.
The US drops ISDS
The US government used to be the chief proponent of strong investor protection clauses in international trade deals. No longer. What happened?
How a trade deal with the US could destroy the UK’s climate change goals
Boris Johnson’s plan to diverge from EU rules threatens crucial environmental regulations.