A special COVID-19-themed SIAC Philippines webinar took place on 18 June 2020. The webinar examined the availability of interim relief to parties to commercial disputes, both in international arbitration and through courts in the Philippines and Singapore, with the panel members sharing their observations on trends and changes since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic….

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” (John F. Kennedy, Former US President). The current Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc globally impacting people in grievous ways. The resultant containment measures by governments have severely limited or otherwise rendered physical interactions impossible. As…

The Crimea crisis has received attention by UNCLOS and investment tribunals, as well as by the Swiss Federal Tribunal in appeals and annulment proceedings. However, their analyses have been limited to jurisdiction. The implicated issue was whether the (bilateral) investment treaties (BIT) of the occupying, and a fortiori annexing, State could be applied extraterritorially. These…

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arrangements provided in Chapter 14 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) are a radical shift from those that have been in force for the past 25 years under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As explored in Wednesday’s post, Canada has effectively opted-out of ISDS under…

On July 1, 2020, the investment chapter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expired quietly in its North American home, at the age of 26.  It left behind a generation of investment treaties and investment chapters in free trade agreements that are its direct descendants.  It served as inspiration for many other agreements. …

The filing of new actions continues in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (“D.D.C.”) to enforce ICSID awards rendered against Spain. The latest petition was filed on April 24, 2020, by Watkins Holdings S.à.r.l. and Watkins (Ned) B.V., both affiliates of the UK company Bridgepoint Advisers Limited, seeking the enforcement of…

Reforms Are Afoot Calls for investor-State dispute settlement (“ISDS”) reform have catalyzed efforts to evolve the regime. Concurrently, the ISDS system continues to wrestle with tensions between an investment regime primarily oriented towards protecting investor rights, and the human rights normative architecture for protection of individual rights and associated State obligations for protection of such rights. ISDS…

Recent years have seen an uptick in the expansion and enforcement of anti-corruption laws worldwide. In 2017, China amended its Anti-Unfair Competition Law, broadening the scope of bribe recipients covered by the law, and increasing penalties. In 2019, Italy widened its anti-bribery law, No. 3/2019, increasing penalties for both individuals and companies found guilty of…

Africa is in the vanguard of investor obligations in international investment law. As it prepares to seek a continental investment code for the second time, it finds itself at a crossroads. In tracing the emergence and trajectory of investment instruments toward the historic juncture to which Africa presently arrives, one glimpses the promise of a…

Introduction For the purpose of this article, there are some words and principles that shall be defined before raising the main issue. Article 412 of the Commercial Code of Iran (CCI) defines the bankruptcy of an entity (natural or legal person) as the result of its cessation in payment of its debt. In this situation,…

Chinese involvement in 5G infrastructure development has been an issue of concern for policy makers globally. This post addresses the question of whether the Chinese multinational Huawei would have an investment claim against the German government were they to prohibit its participation in 5G deployment. Germany is selected as a case study due to the…

The recent case of Itisaluna Iraq LLC and Others v. Republic of Iraq represents the first time that an ICSID tribunal had been constituted under the Agreement on Promotion and Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (the “OIC Agreement”). The tribunal affirmed that the OIC Agreement contains a…

This post examines an illustrative case of a successful diplomatic protection claim under an old Bilateral Convention of Establishment (BCE). These were early precursors to Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), which aimed to encourage and protect foreign investments. While revisiting Switzerland’s unlawful expropriation of Italian-owned real estates, the post proposes an alternative solution to that case…

Background There is much public discourse on the impact of the ongoing pandemic on international arbitrations. Commentators and scholars have provided perspectives on how to navigate and find safe harbours in the uncharted waters of COVID-19. In the “new normal” of wide-ranging travel advisories and restrictions, there is an emerging consensus to better integrate the…

Recently, the Constitutional Chamber of the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (the “Court”) issued an interlocutory judgment ordering the Business Center for Conciliation and Arbitration (CEDCA) to stay an arbitration and to forward the arbitration file in order to decide on a request for “avocamiento” filed by one of the parties before the Court. This…

Whenever litigating against states or sovereign entities – or international organisations for that matter – outside of their home jurisdiction there is a roadblock to consider: immunities. On closer inspection, immunities turn out as two roadblocks: immunity from jurisdiction and immunity from enforcement. Whereas the general assumption is that an agreement to arbitrate waives immunity…

As in most jurisdictions, Germany based arbitral tribunals and German state courts assessing challenges to arbitral awards are often confronted with questions regarding the conflict between the parties’ right to be heard and the denial of the parties’ requests for evidence. In recent years, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof – BGH) and several…

The ruling given on 25 February 2020 (‘Ruling’) by the High Court of Lagos State in Nigeria (‘Lagos High Court’), setting aside an award in the case of Global Gas and Refinery Limited (‘Global Gas’) and Shell Petroleum Development Company (‘Shell’) on the ground of arbitrator non-disclosure, raises concern to the arbitral community both in…

Recently, the first-ever treaty-based arbitration against Norway was registered with ICSID. The Request for Arbitration was submitted by a Latvian investor, Mr. Peteris Pildegovics, and his company, SIA North Star. This post provides a background to the dispute, outlines possible claims, elaborates on its ramifications, and predicts further arbitrations. The dispute at hand is similar…

Since 2017, the appointment of members of the Appellate Body (‘AB’) of the Dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organisation (‘WTO’) has been blocked by the United States (‘US’). This has disrupted the functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system. The US claims that it has blocked the appointment for serious reasons: the AB…

Necessity is the golden chord that lies at the base of every innovation and invention. As countries around the world continue to implement different measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to contain and deal with its ramifications, all stakeholders (including businesses and institutions) are now forced to innovate and make significant changes to the…

On January 24, 2020, Peru enacted the Emergency Decree No. 020-2020 (the “Decree”), published in Peru’s Official Gazette, El Peruano. The Decree amends Peru’s Legislative Decree No. 1071 (the “Arbitration Law”), in force since 2008, to provide protections to any arbitration in which the Peruvian Government is involved.  The Decree’s changes are, in fact, protectionist…

On March 25, the European Commission issued a set of guidelines addressed to Member States, concerning foreign direct investment (FDI) from third countries and the protection of European critical assets. In face of the current crisis caused by the outbreak of Covid-19, the European Commission calls upon Member States to make full use of their…

There was a time when arbitrators were to a large extent immune from liability and could thus not be sued before national courts for damages caused to the parties to a dispute. This was true mainly in common law jurisdictions and was probably the case in most civil law countries as well. For instance, under…