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…

The Report on Online Dispute Resolution platform for consumers issued by the European Commission on 2 October 2019 concludes that “the ODR framework is underused and has yet to reach its full potential”. Against this background, the French legislator has taken a strong stance to promote the use of artificial intelligence and online dispute resolution,…

Introduction Rule 29 of the 2016 SIAC Rules (“SIAC Rules”) introduced a procedure for enabling an ‘early’ dismissal of claims and defences. Rule 29 is akin to summary judgment and striking out in common law courts. It is aimed at allowing a tribunal to dismiss patently unmeritorious claims and defences without having to conduct full-fledged…

On 25 January 2020, India and Brazil signed an investment agreement  (the “India-Brazil BIT”). As an agreement that has been signed at the dawn of the new decade, it is symbolic for a few reasons. First, it is a south-south agreement between two large and growing economies. Second, it abandons investor-state arbitration in favor of…

Significant advances in technology over the last decade have made videoconferencing a viable alternative to traditional, in-person witness examinations in arbitration. As the use of videoconferencing in international arbitration grows more common, we must ask ourselves: do we have the right tools to eliminate the risks that arise with this new technology? This question led…

Afghanistan, in January 2007, enacted its Commercial Arbitration Law to facilitate prompt, fair and neutral resolution of commercial and economic disputes through arbitration. However, despite enactment of the Law, Afghan courts exhibited reluctance to defer to dispute resolution clauses in contracts which directed parties to arbitration. Consequently, till 2013, arbitration was neither considered a viable…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

International arbitration (IA) maintains its popularity as business’ premier choice of dispute resolution in the 21st century. This does not mean that the process is free from criticism which raises the question how IA attracts and retains the trust of its users in spite of its limitations. The question of trust comes to the fore…

This is a follow-up post that updates on developments in the escalating tensions between Cyprus and Turkey over hydrocarbon explorations in the Mediterranean Sea. In the previous post it was argued that the Italian oil company ENI could launch an arbitration against Turkey under the Italy-Turkey Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in the aftermath of the…