The Swiss Federal Supreme Court, in a rare appeal against an award in a bilateral investment treaty arbitration, confirmed its statutory restraint in reviewing arbitral awards pursuant to article 190 of the Private International Law Act (“PILA”) and rejected the host state’s request to set aside the award for violating substantive public policy. (Case 4A_157/2017,…

The Belt-and-Road Initiative (“BRI“) is a grand vision about connectivity, infrastructure, trade and unimpeded foreign direct investment (“FDI“) flows. It is a path to China’s largest export market  – the European Union – which does not only propose to ‘transit’ Eurasia (and coastal East Africa), but to radically transform it. And, thus, mere construction and…

For many years, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), supported by thousands of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), has served as the main mechanism for deciding investment disputes. This controversial system permits affected investors to sue states for damages before arbitral panels on the grounds that their investments have been treated unfairly. For many commentators, the main problem…

On 6 March 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a long-awaited decision on a preliminary ruling from Germany’s Federal Court of Justice in the Slovak Republic v Achmea case (available here and already addressed in a different KluwerBlog entry here) [Case C-284/16]. By concluding that the arbitration clause in the Slovakia-Netherlands…

Introduction The two main reasons why countries generally agree to sign bilateral or multilateral investment treaties (BITs or MITs) are to attract foreign direct investments, while at the same time protecting their own citizens’ investments abroad by reducing political risk. Arguably, there might be multiple added values on top of these reasons for a specific…

The views expressed herein are the personal views of the authors and do not reflect those of their law firm. In France, until recently, rules governing the issue of sovereign immunity from enforcement, and in particular those setting out the scope and conditions under which such immunities apply, derived from case law. Although relevant international…

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) made waves in a post-Trump era of hostility towards free trade. But not all press is good press and CETA’s investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism has come under fire. While all chapters of the CETA entered into force at midnight on September 21, 2017, one didn’t: the controversial…

After the enlargement of the European Union in 2004, many eastern bloc countries acceded to the European Union. BITs entered into between the eastern bloc and the western bloc were transformed into the so-called “Intra-EU BITs”. The problems of Intra-EU BITs arose when the European Commission started its campaign against Intra-EU BITs, alleging their incompatibility…

Chapter 11: Where Investors Go to Complain NAFTA renegotiations began last year and, with attention once again on this 23-year old trade deal, critics are taking the opportunity to voice their concerns. U.S. President Trump has himself propounded, and indeed campaigned on, an abundance of criticism directed at NAFTA. While no part of NAFTA has…

In late November, the UN Headquarters in Vienna saw the first meeting of Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade (UNCITRAL). The meeting marked the initiation of a process of analysis and reform – whatever shape it may ultimately take – of the existing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regime. At…

2017 was a busy year for international arbitration. Taking a walk down memory lane, we saw new players and new industries entering the game, institutions adopting new rules, and we have some new challenges to tackle. This note summarizes some highlights and low lights in international arbitration during 2017 from across the globe. Happy Holidays…

The first publicly available decision issued under the international arbitration process provided for under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (‘Bangladesh Accord’) (note that Roger Alford previously summarized the Bangladesh Accord’s dispute resolution clause here) was issued through the 4 September 2017 Decision on Admissibility Objection in Industrial Global Union and Uni…

The Opinion delivered on 19 September 2017 by Advocate General Wathelet in the case C-284/16 Achmea has already been widely commented on in the international arbitration community. The views are either critical or approving, but so far, they have mostly been focused on whether a particular legal point made by the Advocate General was right…

Currently, several dozen arbitral claims have been lodged by investors from an EU Member-State against another EU Member-State based on the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). These so-called intra-EU ECT-based arbitrations seem to be increasing, despite attempts by the European Commission to halt them. So far, neither the Respondent-States nor the Commission (as amicus curiae) have…

Third-party funding remains a hot topic in arbitration, which is understandable considering its complexity and that its accompanying issues often have major implications for arbitral procedure. This fall, the ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force on third-party funding in international arbitration released its “draft,” touching upon a number of contemporary issues vis-á-vis third-party funding, all of which…

The international economic order is today bound together through a network of bilateral (and multilateral) investment treaties which provide investors with a variety of protections. Such Bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) are a relatively young species dating back to 1959’s Pakistan-Federal Republic of Germany BIT. While the exact content of BITs varies by agreement, most contain…

Recently, it was reported that after 14 years since Zimbabwe had illegally evicted Dutch farmers from their farms, it finally agreed to pay the damages awarded under the ICSID award, which dates back in 2009. In the Funnekotter et al case, the arbitral tribunal rejected Zimbabwe’s necessity defence, which was based on the claimed need…

In the 2000s, mortgages in Swiss Franc (CHF) were very popular among consumers in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe for the acquisition of both private and commercial properties, as the CHF was a stable and reliable currency and offered lower interest rates than loans in Euro or in local currencies. When on 15 January 2015…

Information dissemination is the flavor of the decade. Processing information with our busy lives has become harder than ever and companies are hard at work to ensure knowledge reaches as many people around the globe as possible. These efforts are not without their threats. The rise of what might be called the “fake news” movement…

The year 1993 saw a significant political transition in Cambodia through the adoption of democratic principles and free market economy. Since then, many legal reforms have been made in order to attract foreign direct investment, and one of which is providing a legal framework for protecting the investment. To date, the Kingdom has signed a…

Since the first application for provisional measures suspending criminal proceedings in Tokios Tokelés v. Ukraine (ICSID Case No. ARB/02/18, Order No. 3, 18 January 2005), the number of applications before ICSID tribunals for these types of measures has steadily increased. Recent applications have been widely commented on in the arbitration community, including in this blog….

In a 172-page judgment, the Singapore High Court in Kingdom of Lesotho v Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Limited [2017] SGHC 195 (Lesotho), set aside an investor-state arbitration award rendered against Lesotho after an extensive review of international investment jurisprudence. This is the second investor-state matter that has confronted the Singapore courts following Sanum Investments Ltd…

According to the Doing Business Reports, from 2014 and 2016 Myanmar ameliorated the possibility to enter into business in the country by increasing its rank from 177 to 171. However, this evolution seems to be frozen as shown by the 2017 Report in terms of amelioration. Nonetheless, Myanmar’s government is ready to take a next…

The potential clash between protection of investors under investment treaties and protection of the environment has emerged in a number of recent arbitrations. More than 60 investment disputes filed since 2012 have had some environmental component. Amongst them, there have been several cases in which States have sought to enforce environmental law against investors in…