State parties’ “mutual actions” over a treaty – including interventions such as interpretation, modification and termination – have flourished in recent investment treaty practice. This trend brings to the fore the question of whether there are any limits to such actions, particularly due to the involvement of non-State entities, such as investors and arbitral tribunals….

The Second Edition of the Washington Arbitration Week took place from 29 November to 3 December 2021, hosting 16 panels, including two hybrid panels with both in-person and virtual attendees. This post highlights the panel on ‘Investment Treaty Arbitration in the Digital Era: Using BITs to protect Cryptocurrency Investments?’ Cristen Bauer (U.S. Department of Commerce)…

On January 20, 2022, ICSID submitted its amended rules to the Administrative Council for a vote, marking the end of the five-year-old process of modernizing the ICSID Rules. ICSID members are expected to cast a vote on the amended rules by March 21, 2022, and if approved, the rules will enter into force on July…

Nearly 30 years have passed since world leaders signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”), agreeing to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system.” For many of those years, nobody seemed to take that commitment very seriously. But things look different now: climate law has hit its stride. At COP26 in November…

This post deals with the conceptual underpinnings and theoretical justification for the practice of counterclaims in investment arbitration. First, it is important to delineate this post from an analysis of counterclaims case-law in investment arbitration, as ample accounts of the counterclaim debate in practice can be found here, here, and here.  Equally, this post does…

Debates about the fragmentation of international law and the sometimes conflicting relationship between a state’s and investor’s obligations under international investment law (“IIL”), on the one hand, and public international law and domestic law, on the other, have gained renewed relevance for investment arbitration. Issues related to the interactions between these regimes have featured in…

Bilateral investment treaties depend upon international arbitration as the mechanism to resolve disputes between sovereign states and investors. Although offering obvious advantages over litigation before national courts, investors are not immune from the risk of proceedings becoming destabilized by external factors. A recent example involved Air Canada, the country’s flag carrier, and the Bolivarian Republic…

This post shares a development of potential significance, i.e., the drafting of the Sustainable Investment Facilitation & Cooperation Agreement (SIFCA), a next-generation model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) developed for The Gambia, a sovereign State in West Africa and one of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). This post continues the discussion raised in January 2021,…

International arbitration is changing at a fast pace, and opportunities arise every day in this field. In this context, on May 25, 2021, Young Arbitral Women Practitioners, Holland & Knight, and Rising Arbitrators Initiative co-hosted a webinar to discuss emerging fields of practice for arbitration lawyers. This post offers an overview of the variety of…

The “2019 in Review: India” started with a quote from Jeff Bezos that the 21st century belongs to India. Little did we know then that, one year later, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon would be fighting tooth and nail in a SIAC arbitration and related litigation in the Indian courts to claim a share of the burgeoning…

In the early 2000s, several European states introduced generous incentive programs to attract investors to renewable energy, triggering an investment boom. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008, however, the incentive payments put a strain on regulators. The subsequent changes to the regulations of the renewable energy sector implemented by Spain, Italy,…

It will come as no surprise to the readers of this blog that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on international arbitration (see blog coverage here).  In this post, we take a look back at 2020 to consider the intersection of the pandemic, investment, and human rights.  In February 2020, one of…

In 2019, we were wondering whether winter had come to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), bringing with it a decline in the negotiation and conclusion of bilateral investment treaties. Looking back on 2020, we are left asking ourselves a similar question. This post will examine the year’s major institutional developments and their effects on ISDS both…

On 5 May 2020, 23 Member States of the European Union (“EU”) signed an Agreement for the Termination of all Intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (“Agreement”). Following ratification by the Kingdom of Denmark (6 May 2020) and Hungary (30 July 2020), the Agreement entered into force on 29 August 2020 (Article 16). The Agreement comes in…

On 15 July 2020, an UNCITRAL Tribunal rendered a Partial Award on Jurisdiction in a dispute between Mr. Lee-Chin ­­and the Dominican Republic (DR) concerning the alleged expropriation of a landfill in Santo Domingo. The arbitrators had to decide whether the arbitration clause – enshrined in Article XIII, Annex III, of the Caribbean Community-Dominican Republic…

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…

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…

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…

On 22 March 2019, the Dutch Government released the text of the new model Netherlands BIT. Its idealism has been applauded: the new model prioritizes gender and regional diversity as well as the United Nations sustainability goals. Yet, what would the effect be of some of the model’s provisions on Foreign Direct Investment (‘FDI’)? For…

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…