At the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passed 600,000, across more than 200 countries and territories. The World Health Organization (the WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, i.e. an ‘extraordinary event’ which is ‘serious, unusual or unexpected’ carries trans-national implications, and may require immediate…

We are happy to inform you that the latest issue of the journal is now available and includes the following contributions:   Sundaresh Menon, Technology and the Changing Face of Justice The problem of unequal access to justice, also known as the justice gap, has been worsened by rising levels of inequality over the past…

A cursory reading of the mandate of Working Group III reveals that the discussion at UNCITRAL of ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) reform focuses only on procedural aspects of dispute settlement under investment treaties and excludes any substantive aspects. However, the topic of respondent states’ counterclaims, albeit procedural in itself, is so inextricably intertwined with substantive…

Ahead of the thirty-ninth session of UNCITRAL Working Group III (Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform), the General Assembly Secretariat issued a note on issues to be considered on the topic of security for costs and frivolous claims. Averting frivolous claims has been a recurring topic in the ISDS debate over the past years, not least in…

One of the topics on the agenda of UNCITRAL Working Group III is the establishment of an Appellate Court system. The system of investor-State dispute resolution therefore now faces the fact that WG III is considering, among other matters, the following: the repeal of local law governing the setting aside of an UNCITRAL award giving…

Arbitrators under the Crossfire While investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) was created with the purported goal of depoliticizing investment disputes, it is currently at the centre of heated political debates. Investment arbitration follows the commercial arbitration paradigm, with disputing parties playing a direct role in the composition of the tribunal. This is perceived as a tool…

During its last resumed 38th session which took place in Vienna from 20–24 January 2020 the UNCITRAL Working Group III discussed in parallel three reform alternatives, based on the notes prepared by the Secretariat. These alternatives suggested the creation of: (i) a stand-alone review or appellate mechanism; (ii) a standing multilateral investment court (MIC); and/or…

Next week was due to be the 39th session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s (UNCITRAL) Working Group III, and its sixth session considering the issue of reform to investor-State dispute settlement (‘ISDS’). The session has since been postponed indefinitely, in light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of Working…

For decades, like clockwork, the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (‘Vis Moot’) and its sister competition, Vis East Moot, have brought together students, academics, practitioners, and arbitrators to consider emerging and important substantive topics in international arbitration and international sales law. Many of us honed our passion for these fields as student participants in the Vis…

Late last year, Herbert Smith Freehills Seoul and Kim & Chang held a “Women in Arbitration” Networking-Dinner and panel discussion as part of the Seoul ADR Festival 2019. The dinner aimed to provide an opportunity for female professionals in the Korean arbitration community to network with their industry peers and work to advance their position…

On 25 January 2020, India and Brazil signed an Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty, in the presence of the Brazilian president Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Arguably the most prominent of the 3 BITs that India has signed since adopting the model BIT in December 2015. The new treaty articulates several provisions (briefly discussed below) in departure…

In an industry which thrives on lofty ideals of amicable dispute resolution and open debate, it is startling to observe that the environmental impact involved in the conduct of international arbitrations has received little attention.  This is not to suggest that the international arbitration community has completely ignored the issue, but the focus has been…

During the recent visit of Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, to India, Brazil and India inked the investment cooperation and facilitation treaty (hereinafter bilateral investment treaty – BIT). From Brazil’s point of view, this BIT is an extension of a novel approach to foreign investment in international law based on investment facilitation and cooperation, not investment protection…

The 15th ICC Turkey Arbitration Day was held on 24 January 2020 in Istanbul. The aims of the conference were to contribute to the development of commercial and investment arbitration in Turkey, to promote Istanbul as a place for arbitration and alternative dispute resolution as well as the work of Turkish arbitration practitioners both on…

UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the COP25 climate change conference on 2 December 2019 saying that: “…At current trends, we are looking at global heating of between 3.4 and 3.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The impact on all life on the planet – including ours – will be catastrophic. The only…

On 9 October 2019 the Supreme Court of Ukraine (Supreme Court) rendered a decision in a case on setting aside an arbitral award that goes completely against Article 3 of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.   Background All began when a US company, Altum Air Inc. (Altum Air), initiated proceedings against a…

The motive for writing this blog post was conceived during my work as a member of the Technical Secretariat for the Ministerial Committee for Settlement of Investment Contracts Disputes, when I realized the need of both academics and practitioners for access to a reliable database of empirical analyses to support their work. This post is…

Last month, ICSID published a further Working Paper (WP4) linked to its ongoing reform process, by which it is considering a series of amendments to the ICSID and ICSID Additional Facility Rules. The Working Paper is the fourth in a series of working papers, preceded by Working Papers 1 (August 2018), 2 (March 2019), and…

Background – The Pandemic is Confirmed As cases of COVID-19, the pathogen associated with the coronavirus outbreak, are reported in rising numbers in countries around the world, the likelihood of a worsening global impact looms. This past Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak a global pandemic. In the course of just a…

Like virtually all arbitration laws, the Austrian Arbitration Act is silent on whether the lack of impartiality and independence of an arbitrator may be invoked for the first time in setting aside proceedings in cases where a party becomes aware of the relevant circumstances only after the award was rendered. The Austrian Supreme Court has,…

I discussed in a previous post on the blog the decision of 18 February 2020 of the Court of Appeal in The Hague that revived the awards rendered in July 2014 against the Russian Federation in Veteran Petroleum Ltd., Yukos Universal Ltd. and Hulley Enterprises Ltd. cases. Those awards had been annulled in April 2016 on the basis that there…

Recent legislative developments have shown that Georgia strives to become a hub for dispute resolution in the Caucasus region. The legislative framework on commercial arbitration is now fully tailored to the needs of international commercial arbitration: the law of Georgia on arbitration (the “Law on Arbitration”) is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International…

The legal considerations arising out of climate change and environmental matters more generally have been considered extensively in the context of worldwide litigation, and, to some extent, in investment treaty arbitration. However, such issues have not been subject to the same level of public debate in the commercial arbitration sphere. This post analyses how environmental…

Over the past few months anti-corruption protesters in Lebanon have taken to the streets calling for widespread reforms to the Lebanese economic and political system. This has caused considerable strain on the country’s already frail economy. The first two weeks of the unrest saw a complete closure of banks with no possibility of making transfers…