In 2013 Mexico embarked on a major energy reform by amending its Constitution, thereby allowing the participation of private investors in the exploration and extraction of oil & gas and the generation of electricity, particularly from clean and low-cost energy sources. Subsequently, Certificates of Clean Energy (“CELs“) were introduced on 31 October 2014 to promote…

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…

It is well settled in the practice of ICSID tribunals that the general rule of treaty interpretation embodied in Article 31(1) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (“Vienna Convention”) applies to the interpretation of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (“ICSID Convention”). While…

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is facing significant opposition in its current form. Whilst some parties are engaged to find new common ground, others have unilaterally implemented measures aimed at ousting investor-state arbitration altogether. Over time, more and more attention has been paid to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and its…

The numerous interpretations of the Full Protection and Security Standard (“FPSS”) have complicated the findings of tribunals for many years. A number of tribunals have found that this standard applies only to physical protection. Meanwhile, other tribunals have extended this standard to cover all types of protection from physical to legal and commercial. Also, more…

Introduction The fourth annual Harbour Lecture took place on 21 October 2019, with hundreds of attendees packed into the Eaton Club, Hong Kong to hear a thought-provoking lecture delivered by Sophie Lamb QC, global co-chair of the international arbitration practice at Latham & Watkins. The theme of this year’s lecture was whether arbitration is sustainable….

Introduction There are parallel initiatives currently considering a potential reform of the international Investor-State Dispute Settlement (“ISDS”) system. Particularly, the work presently taking place at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) by its Working Group III (WGIII) is one of the forums that continues to attract attention as we get closer to…

The Latin Lawyer – GAR Live 3rd Annual Arbitration Summit took place on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 (the “Summit”). Practitioners from the United States and Latin America gathered for a third consecutive year in Miami to discuss the importance of dispute boards in constructions contracts, the issue of social licenses, the challenges facing the energy…

Introduction According to UNESCO, the first caravans aiming to connect East (China) with West (Central Asia) were dispatched in 138 AD, leading eventually to the formulation of what we know today as the Great Silk Road.  The Uzbek corridor, consisting of Bukhara, Tashkent, and Samarkand, provided key routes for trade and also served as a…

Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system has become the focus of various initiatives of different international organizations and groups in the past years. Currently, there are various developments taking place at various levels of the ISDS system. For example, (i) the new generation of international investment treaties—in particular, the new Free Trade Agreements signed…

The signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (“IACEPA“) on 4 March 2019 marked an important milestone for both States (as covered in a post earlier this week). Given that both Indonesia and Australia have their reservations on investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS“) processes, it is interesting to see that the IACEPA contains a chapter…

Last month, Australia and Indonesia signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (‘IA-CEPA’), containing in Chapter 14 provisions related to the protection of foreign investments. Negotiations of an IA-CEPA were initially announced in 2010, and formally began in September 2012. The negotiations were thereafter suspended, but relaunched in March 2016. Signature and ratification of the…

The OECD Secretariat launched, in 2018, a “FDI qualities project”. Its objective is to provide governments with a tool kit to attract investment that contributes as much as possible to sustainable development. For that purpose, the project has identified five clusters of “FDI qualities indicators”: productivity-innovation, skills, job quality, gender, and carbon footprint. These indicators…

Introduction In their Fourth Turning Theory, Howe and Strauss put forward the thesis that every cycle in Anglo-American history had concluded with a great crisis, a fourth turning, from which a new order with a new set of beliefs had emerged. According to their predictions, a new crisis should have started sometime around 2005 and…

Since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, a substantial number of investment claims, in particular expropriation claims, have been raised by Ukrainian nationals against the Russian Federation in relation to investments made in Crimea prior to the annexation. In this regard, a fundamental legal issue concerns the applicability of the Agreement…

The CERSA (CNRS- University Paris II Panthéon-Assas) organized its third event in a series of seminars on selected topics in international investment law and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) (for the report of the first seminar, see here). The seminar on Topical issues in ISDS: EU Investment Law was held in Paris on 7 February 2019…

At the heart of the debate surrounding Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Reform is UNCITRAL Working Group (WG) III.  Until two years ago, WG III was dedicated to discussing issues surrounding online dispute resolution.  But in 2017, in response to several significant awards against states in investment arbitration and corresponding public outcry, the WG III was…

In recent years, a number of arbitral tribunals adjudicating treaty-based investment disputes have been confronted with the question of what to do when the state party to such a dispute alleges that the investors acquired the investment through corrupt means. In some instances, tribunals have applied the defense as a jurisdictional bar, preventing the investors…

Young ITA has organised over fifteen successful events this year all over the world including in Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Guatemala City, Miami, Washington DC, New York City, London, and India. The first Dubai Young ITA talk took place on Wednesday 5 December 2018. The event hosted by Vinson & Elkins featured two panel discussions…

Very rarely would a single arbitration-related decision produce as significant an impact as the judgment of the Court of Justice of European Union (“EU” and “CJEU” respectively) in the Achmea case did during 2018. We should not doubt that Achmea will remain a cornerstone issue in the world of arbitration for a long period of…

Introduction The assessment of human rights within an investment arbitration framework, typical for the investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) mechanism, is one of the topics which has gained significant momentum in the past years, and has led even to the establishment of a Working Group on International Arbitration of Business and Human Rights. Arbitral tribunals often…

Brazil has been notoriously reluctant to enter into treaties with other States that provide for the protection of investors and investments, viewing them as detrimental to the host State and its national investors. Brazil has no bilateral investment treaties in force, a limited number of its own treaties, named Cooperation and Facilitation Investment Agreements (CFIAs),…

Recent events such as the NAFTA re-negotiations have drawn leading newspapers around the world to turn their attention to ISDS tribunals. Often in an effort to make their stories sensational, they speak of “obscure tribunals,” “secret trade court,” and “justice behind closed doors,” most of the time giving it an unfair and biased image. In…