Extraordinary Times  These are extraordinary times in many regards. The spread of novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”), now considered a pandemic, continues to have a significant global impact on several fronts. For States, the pandemic of course presents significant public health challenges. As we are seeing, it also presents significant economic challenges, due to the convergence of…

The aftermath of Achmea Since the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Achmea, defending EU Member States and the European Commission have questioned the validity of the application of the investment arbitration clause in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to intra-EU disputes. Although the motions to challenge jurisdiction on…

On February 4, 2020, ICSID registered a request for arbitration submitted by the company Odebrecth Latinvest Sarl, a Luxembourg-based subsidiary of the Brazilian company Odebrecht SA, against the Republic of Peru (ICSID Case No. ARB/20/04). This post analyzes the background to this dispute, as well as the possible strategies that the parties could use during…

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…

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…

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…

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on his recent visit to India in January 2020 remarked that the 21st century belongs to India. If that is true, it would also mean a flurry of disputes involving some Indian angle are inevitable and will keep the arbitration industry busy. Thus, even though 2019 may have drawn curtains over…

Introduction In 2019, we witnessed a number of interesting developments in the field of investment arbitration in Latin America. While some of them were in line with expectations, some jurisdictions did deviate from their usual or expected approach to ISDS and surprised us in positive, but also in negative ways. Our authors did a tremendous…

It is our tentative prediction that a recent ruling from the Regional Administrative Court of Tuscany (TAR), which blocked the project to expand Florence Airport’s runaway – and hence, its passenger flow and corollary revenue – may “prepare the ground” for an investment arbitration dispute between Argentinian and Emirati investors and Italy.   Background In…

In the recently rendered Oded Besserglik v Mozambique award (“Award”), after 5 years of proceedings and millions in costs and expenses, a tribunal accepted a Motion to Dismiss and declined jurisdiction over the dispute for the relevant treaty never entered into force. Despite the fact that Mozambique prevailed on its motion, this case raises several…

On November 22, 2019, the acting government of Spain passed a long-anticipated legislation in response to more than four dozen of international arbitrations that, since late 2013, have been filed continuously against the country. The Royal Decree-Law 17/2019 (‘RDL 17/2019’) is, therefore, an attempt to provide new incentives and more certainty to the renewable energy…

As part of International Investment Law and Policy Speaker Series, on November 14, 2019, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment  hosted Dr. Mouhamadou Kane, Project Lead and Manager for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (“OIC”) Investment Dispute Settlement Organ. During the program, Dr. Kane explained the text of a draft investment protocol for the OIC…

2019 has been a busy year for international arbitration in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the year has brought an interesting wave of precedents, new domestic statutes, modern international investment agreements, and arbitration events. This post highlights and summarises some of the African developments covered in the Blog in 2019, with many thanks to the authors who…

Last week QMUL, in partnership with the Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group (“CCIAG”), launched its first ever survey focusing exclusively on international investment. This is the tenth major empirical International Arbitration survey conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London. A link to the survey can be found here. The…

As the number of investor-state disputes grows, so does the number of applications for provisional measures. The recent empirical study conducted by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and White&Case suggests that investors were more than twice as likely to obtain positive decisions on their requests than respondent states. The study also showed that…

The Cold War era brought to life, in a strange way, a number of all-encompassing treaties dealing with major subjects such as international treaty-making, diplomatic relations, law of seas, etc. Even among the topics covered by these treaties were enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and investment disputes. However, it seems like the world has already…

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 rules for treaty interpretation (VCLT) routinely referred to by all international courts and tribunals are known to be the result of a compromise between different schools of interpretation and therefore notoriously flexible, in my view too flexible for the purposes of modern-day international dispute resolution. Cases are therefore won and lost according…