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.

The Australian | 17-Jan-2014
An American investor plans to invoke the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement to prevent the NSW government cancelling a coal exploration licence that the Independent Commission Against Corruption said is tainted by corruption and should be expunged.
The Nation | 15-Jan-2014
Activists are challenging rules that grant corporations the right to sue governments.
Novethic | 15-Jan-2014
De part et d’autre de l’Atlantique, des dizaines d’ONG surveillent de près le partenariat transatlantique de commerce et d’investissement négocié actuellement entre l’Union européenne et les États-Unis. Dans leur collimateur, une clause défendant la protection des investisseurs au détriment de celle des citoyens et de l’environnement.
Mondaq | 15-Jan-2014
A proposal for a new form of international arbitration, with states abandoning sovereign rights to commercial dispute litigation in favor of resolution by arbitration, has provoked wide public interest and is now being drafted into an international model treaty.
Inside Story | 13-Jan-2014
Australia’s clash with Philip Morris over plain packaging has disrupted trade talks between the United States and Europe, reports James Panichi in Brussels
Mondaq | 9-Jan-2014
The SADC protocol on investment provides rights to investors, including investor-state dispute settlement provisions, in southern Africa no matter what country they hail from. Thus, it goes way beyond typical bilateral investment treaties (BITs) while protecting foreign companies operating in SADC countries without BIT coverage.
FTA Watch | 8-Jan-2014
A five-minute video from FTA Watch (Thailand)
Public Radio International | 4-Jan-2014
Last month, a judge ruled that the Ecuadorians can pursue their case against Chevron in Canada.
Wall St Journal | 4-Jan-2014
An international arbitration tribunal in The Hague hearing a claim from Chevron Corp. against Ecuador pushed back a scheduled hearing to Feb. 7 from Jan. 20 and called on both parties to meet in Washington on Jan. 20 instead.
The Hindu Business Line | 2-Jan-2014
In the last couple of years, South Africa has become the unlikely champion of the anti-BIT movement.

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