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.

Corporate Europe Observatory | 7-Mar-2008
Running their business via a letterbox company in the Netherlands, transnational corporations profit from the corporate-friendly Dutch tax regime and bilateral investment treaties the Netherlands has with third countries. Euro Telecom Italia (ETI), a subsidiary of Italian telecoms giant ENTEL, is one such letterbox company. ETI recently lodged a complaint with the World Bank tribunal ICSID against Bolivia for compensation, after the Bolivian government had launched a review the company’s much-criticised performance and attempted to negotiate a buy back of what used to be a public telecommunications company.
Engineering News | 7-Feb-2008
Foreign companies operating in South Africa that have lost production and ultimately profit as a result of the power supply crisis might be able to sue the government under bilateral investment treaties
UNCTAD | 9-Jan-2008
The experience with the investor-State dispute settlement of a number of countries, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, is influencing the development of new international investment agreements in those countries
AllAfrica.com | 17-Nov-2007
The Zimbabwe government has admitted that it wronged white commercial farmers when it violently evicted them from their farms at the height of Zanu PF-instigated land invasions in 2000.
FWI | 9-Nov-2007
A group of Dutch farmers is one step closer to gaining compensation for land and farms lost to the government of Zimbabwe, after a recent hearing in Paris.
Globe and Mail | 31-Oct-2007
A Chicago couple is launching a challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement after they lost money when the Canadian government opted to tax income trusts last year.
Prensa Latina | 16-Oct-2007
El embajador de Estados Unidos dijo que Panamá debe conservar pulcra su "marca país", y para ello requiere de voluntad política para modernizar su aparato judicial. Agregó que cuando un inversionista extranjero es víctima de un proceso judicial poco claro o arbitrario, ello se torna en la peor propaganda internacional
AllAfrica.com | 13-Oct-2007
The last remaining white commercial farmers have appealed to the regional Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal in an effort to stop government from expropriating their properties.
Dow Jones | 12-Oct-2007
Facing a flood of unfavorable arbitration rulings, Argentina is shifting from a legal strategy to a diplomatic one in a bid to dismiss billions of dollars in foreign investor claims arising from its 2002 financial crisis.
CNN | 3-Oct-2007
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington DC has awarded Sempra Energy approximately $172 million, including interest, to settle a 2002 dispute involving the company’s 43-percent ownership in two Argentine natural gas holding companies, Sodigas Pampeana and Sodigas Sur.

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