The Achmea saga has taken yet another twist. In a recent communication to the Dutch Parliament, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate disclosed that it initiated “anti-arbitration” proceedings before the German courts on 11 May 2021 to “avert” two ECT-based ICSID arbitrations brought against it by the German energy companies RWE and Uniper (“Communication”)….

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…

On 12 March 2021, a tribunal issued an award in the case of Naturgy v. Colombia (ICSID Case No. UNCT/18/1) under the Colombia-Spain BIT (2005) (the “BIT”). The decision is the first in a wave of four decisions decided in the first half of 2021 in favor of Colombia. Naturgy is noteworthy for its engagement…

Calls for investor-State dispute settlement (“ISDS”) reform have persisted for some time (see blog coverage here). Competing calls for retaining the status quo, modifying the system, or abandoning the system altogether have each gained traction. With a drastic increase in the number of investment cases being brought, accompanied by the “mega” awards, the international community…

On 23 April 2021, Paul Vlas, Advocate-General of the Dutch Supreme Court issued his opinion in the Yukos case, setting the stage for the final setting aside act in The Hague after nine years of PCA-administered arbitration and six years of setting aside litigation. Advocate-General Vlas had previously advised the Dutch Supreme Court to reject…

On April 19, 2021, the Secretariats of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) released the second draft of the Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in International Investment Disputes, a key feature of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) reform process which is presently under…

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, pharmaceutical companies have engaged in a highly competitive and risky vaccine race. In less than 10 months from the declaration of the global pandemic, the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech received its first regulatory approval, followed by the success stories of other companies. The swiftness of these results was praised as “unprecedented”…

The investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism provided by Art. 26 (2) (c) of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is highly relevant to the protection of intra-EU investments.1)In 2018, about 45 per cent of all treaty-based intra-EU investment arbitrations were brought pursuant to the ECT. See UNCTAD, Fact Sheet on Intra-European Union Investor-State Arbitration Cases, IIA…

Intra-EU investment agreements and arbitration have been a highly divisive issue in European policy circles for decades. The European Commission has been forcefully pushing for the termination of these agreements since the early 2000s. It criticised inter alia that intra-EU investment agreements and arbitration undermine the European legal order and create inequality among European investors…

Following a highly-publicized diplomatic battle among the EU Member States (MS), the EU revealed in mid-February its proposal to amend the ECT’s definition of the “Economic Activity in the Energy Sector” (EAES). The announcement allayed fears of the intra-EU discussions on the matter falling apart. Insofar as it sets forth a vision for amendments that…

On 23 October 2020, Japan and the United Kingdom (UK) signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the agreement coming into force on 1 January 2021. This signifies a historic landmark as the UK’s first trade deal as an independent nation, and represents a key milestone for international trade in a post-Brexit UK. The…

Swedish state-owned power energy company Vattenfall operated two nuclear power plants located in Brunsbüttel and Krümmel, Germany. Vattenfall owns a 50% interest in the Krümmel plant, and a 66.6% interest in the Brunsbüttel plant. In August 2011, against the backdrop of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the German Parliament amended the Act on the…

Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. We have all been experiencing a global pandemic for almost a year now. In an era where the legal exception tends to become the mainstream rule, one is left to wonder how far can this reversal of odds go. Is the global public health crisis susceptible to calling into…

Introduction In the past few years, the world has been following the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) reform debate under the aegis of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). This discussion started in 2017, when the UNCITRAL Working Group III began its work on ISDS reform. Among the proposals submitted by member States…

This post summarizes the International Court of Justice President Joan Donoghue’s discussion, on Delos Dispute Resolution’s TagTime series, with Dr. Kabir Duggal and Amanda Lee regarding cognitive biases of arbitrators, which are also applicable to judges. Judge Donoghue analogized the origin of those cognitive biases to how flamingos obtain their pink color, provided some examples…

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…

The Renewable Energy Target (RET), Australia’s key policy instrument for encouraging electricity generation from renewable sources, has been described as a policy hampered by politicisation. Notwithstanding such criticism, in 2019, it was reported that Australia’s energy system is undergoing the transition to renewables faster than any other country in the world.1)Blakers et al., (2019) “Pathway…

There may have been a lot of government restrictions limiting physical gatherings this year, but these restrictions surely did not limit our enthusiasm in gathering (virtually and intellectually) for the first-ever United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (‘UNCITRAL’) Working Group III (‘WGIII’) Pre-Intersessional Meeting. The virtual event, with the theme “The Use of Mediation…

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”), concluded on 24 December 2020 and provisionally applicable since the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, regulates the relationship of the EU and the UK after Brexit. It forms a basis for an evolving relationship between the Parties and may further change, depending on scrutiny…

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…

Although the Old Continent has suffered tremendously at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of arbitration still managed to find a way to keep on going. In this post, we are going to provide an overview of the most pivotal arbitration developments that occurred on the European soil in 2020. Among others, these…

Since Achmea there has been much debate on whether its reasoning invalidates ECT intra-EU investor state clauses as a matter of EU and international law. The recent AG’s Opinion in Cases C‑798/18 and C‑799/18 does not provide an answer to this question as a matter of EU law. A review of CJEU case law in…

On 3 December 2020, Belgium announced the submission of a request to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) for an opinion on whether the intra-European application of the arbitration provisions of the future modernised Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) are compatible with the EU Treaties. Belgium indicated that the purpose of its request…