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.

Upside Down World | 22-Dec-2008
A Canadian mining company intends to sue El Salvador’s government for several hundred million dollars if it is not granted permission to open a widely unpopular gold and silver mine that scientists warn would have devastating effects on local water supplies.
| 13-Dec-2008
A Canadian mining company and its American subsidiary have threatened the government of El Salvador with a lawsuit after it failed to receive regulatory approval to begin digging for gold and silver in an area some 65 km from San Salvador. The proposed mine has drawn intense opposition from civil society and church-based groups, although the mining company maintains that it enjoys broad public support in El Salvador.
IISD | 3-Dec-2008
In a 12 November 2008 final award, an ICSID tribunal has dismissed all claims by two Italian investors, L.E.S.I S.p.A. and ASTALI S.p.A, in a dispute with the government of Algeria over a failed contract to construct a hydraulic dam.
Multinational Monitor | 24-Nov-2008
British water giant Biwater cannot use an investment treaty to make Tanzania pay millions for an abrogated water privatization contract, an international tribunal ruled in July.
FDI Magazine | 19-Nov-2008
Is there a backlash brewing against the international legal system used by states and investors to settle FDI disputes? For several years, lawyers and academics have been debating whether the current system - consisting of more than 2600 bilateral investment protection treaties - is ensuring the security and protection of investor assets and contracts without unnecessarily handcuffing the sovereignty of governments to regulate business activity within their borders.
| 5-Nov-2008
There is a Slovak proverb which says: “When catching a bird, they sing it a sweet song”. Another Slovak proverb says: “Those who want to beat a dog will certainly find a club“. For investors who find themselves in a situation similar to that described by these proverbs, the bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) very often provide the last available legal option. A BIT is an agreement establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in the state of the other.
Sendero del Peje | 23-Oct-2008
Montreal, 22 Oct (Notimex).- La firma estadunidense Dow AgroSciences recurrió al Capítulo 11 del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN) para pedir compensación por la prohibición en Québec del uso, “para fines cosméticos”, del herbicida 2,4-D
CBC | 23-Oct-2008
Dow AgroSciences, maker of the commonly used herbicide ingredient 2,4-D, is challenging the Quebec government under the North American Free Trade Agreement for banning its product.
| 12-Oct-2008
In spite of the fact that consent is the main building block of arbitration, arbitral awards have been steady for some years that a claimant need not have a contractual relationship with a respondent state to initiate arbitral proceedings versus this state, i.e. states unexpectedly were made respondents in arbitrations under arbitration clauses they have never approved or even bargained.
Dominican Republic Lawyer | 8-Oct-2008
An arbitration tribunal constituted under the France-Dominican Republic Bilateral Investment Treaty released an award last week ruling on the jurisdictional objections raised by the Dominican Republic in a claim brought by TCW and its parent company.

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