In their reform discussions, States and arbitration institutions have been exploring the potential for investor-State mediation to work alongside arbitration, or even to replace it altogether for some disputes. While investor-State mediation has strengths relative to arbitration, any reform must carefully integrate mediation with existing processes and reform efforts. In this post, I explore one…

Arbitration has undoubtedly become the dominant international procedure for settling investor-State disputes. Over the years, we have published various posts on the Blog that have considered intersections and tensions between arbitration and other, alternative, forms of investor-State dispute settlement (‘ISDS’). To mark this month’s entry into force of the Singapore Convention on Mediation, our series…

The Energy Charter Treaty (‘ECT’) opened for signature in 1994, entered into force in 1998, and now boasts some 50 member States. The ECT has since given rise to some 130 investor-State arbitrations, making it “the most frequently invoked international investment agreement”. This high use, coupled with a perception that the ECT is frequently invoked…

Throughout this week, our contributors from around the globe have offered insights into the USMCA/CUSMA/T-MEC, which enters into force next week. Our contributors have contextualised USMCA against both regional and global developments. Many of them noted the link between USMCA and NAFTA, between USMCA and regional politics, and between USMCA and broader global trends related…

On July 1, 2020, the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enter into force. Although the media widely refers to the treaty by its American name, USMCA, it also carries two other names: Canada has adopted it as the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), while Mexico has settled on…

In January 2009, Professor Roger Alford published the first post on the Kluwer Arbitration Blog (the Blog), launching what is now considered an indispensable tool for arbitration practitioners and academics alike. Today, the Blog offers daily perspectives on the latest developments in international arbitration, reflecting our “unique” and “fascinating” international arbitration community. Our 31 editors,…

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…

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…

2019 has seen a series of important arbitration-related developments for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. This post highlights selected key arbitration developments in these States from the past 12 months. It focuses on several domestic arbitration law reform efforts and on important developments in respect of investor-State arbitration.   Domestic Arbitration: Legal Developments and…

The growing public interest in investment treaties and investor-State dispute settlement has prompted an increasing number of States to open to public view aspects of investment treaty negotiations. During the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (‘TTIP’), for example, both the European Union and the United States sought to ‘maximise’ transparency in the…

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) was adopted and opened for signature on May 23, 1969, and entered into force on January 27, 1980. In the fifty years since the VCLT was opened for signature, it has become universally regarded as one of the most important instruments of treaty law. It has…

Last month, Australia and Indonesia signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (‘IA-CEPA’), containing in Chapter 14 provisions related to the protection of foreign investments. Negotiations of an IA-CEPA were initially announced in 2010, and formally began in September 2012. The negotiations were thereafter suspended, but relaunched in March 2016. Signature and ratification of the…

Last year was a busy one for arbitration practitioners in Australia and New Zealand, and 2019 looks set to be even busier. In 2018, both countries initiated a range of arbitration reforms, initiatives and negotiations which give insights into the likely general direction of travel for both countries in the coming year. This post focusses…

On 1 January 2017, the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (‘ACICA’) released a new Guideline on the Use of Tribunal Secretaries. This new Guideline addresses a silence in the existing ACICA Arbitration Rules as to the scope for tribunals to appoint arbitral secretaries, and the basis upon which they might be appointed. This post…

Recent developments indicate there may be increasing interest in the creation of alternative forms of dispute resolution for investor-State disputes. One potential alternative is mediation. This post outlines how 2016 has been an important year for investor-State mediation, considers how mediation interacts with investment treaty arbitration, and the benefits and risks associated with such a…

On 7 July 2016, the UNCITRAL Commission adopted a revised and updated version of the UNCITRAL Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings. The 2016 Notes replace a 1996 edition, and aim to flag procedural issues typically associated with arbitral proceedings. They include guidance on matters such as the language(s) of the proceedings, confidentiality and transparency, and…

by Esmé Shirlow (Assistant Editor for Australia & New Zealand)   Gabriele Ruscalla has recently observed that “transparency has become a fundamental principle in international adjudication”. The transparency paradigms governing different types of international adjudication are, however, far from uniform. Discussions of transparency in international arbitration typically begin, for example, from a distinction between commercial and investment treaty disputes. As Cristoffer Nyegaard Mollestad explains…

As Mariel Dimsey has observed, a key challenge posed by investment treaties is that – at the point of ratification – they expose States to arbitrations of ‘as-yet-unknown scope and against as-yet-unknown claimants’. Gus van Harten and Martin Loughlin argue that this feature differentiates investment disputes from those heard in other fora, transforming investment disputes into something akin to ‘domestic judicial review of state conduct’….

The Report from the inquiry of the Australian Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee into Australian treaty-making practices comes at a time when increasing pressure is being placed upon governments to adopt more transparent and consultative approaches to the negotiation of trade and investment treaties. The report, titled “Blind Agreement: Reforming Australia’s Treaty-Making…

On the 24th of June, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (‘UNCTAD’) launched its 2015 World Investment Report. The Report, titled “Reforming International Investment Governance”, is the 25th in the yearly series from the UN body. As for previous years, the 2015 Report provides a statistical summary of the prior year’s foreign direct…

On 24 June 2015, the Australian Productivity Commission released its eighteenth Trade and Assistance Review 2013-14. The Commission is an independent research and advisory body, with statutory authority to report annually on the economic impacts of Australia’s international trade policy. As readers of this blog may recall, in previous years the Commission’s Review has influenced…

On 17 March 2015, the UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration was opened for signature. So far, nine countries have signed the treaty (among them, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States). The Convention will enter into force six months after the first three instruments of ratification have been deposited…

Both UNCTAD and ICSID have recently released documents designed to provide snapshots of key developments and trends in investor-State arbitration. Both documents draw upon a statistical analysis of case filings and outcomes to generate overviews of the lay of the land in this area of law. The documents highlight a number of important trends, and…

The question of what constitutes an “arbitration” is unlikely to be one that arbitral practitioners have cause to ponder on a daily basis. In fact, such a question might appear at first to be purely theoretical or academic. A recent case (ASADA v 34 Players) from the Victorian Supreme Court in Australia, however, shows the…