Like a chronicle of a death foretold, the  systematic denunciation by Ecuador of the Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) signed with various states formally began in 2009.  Although, the origin of the complaints goes back to 2008, when the current Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador was enacted and specifically forbid the execution of any international…

On 26 May 2018, the Ninth Investment Arbitration Forum took place at the Juridicum of the University of Vienna jointly organized by Prof. Irmgard Marboe of the University of Vienna, Adriana San Román and Herfried Wöss of Wöss & Partners and ICC Austria. The topic of this year’s forum was “Valuation of Damages in Changing…

In the first part of this article, we discussed the problems of balancing an investor’s intellectual property rights with the sovereign right of a State. Now, we look at how Philip Morris v Uruguay has added to the debate. In 2010 Philip Morris challenged two measures adopted by the government of Uruguay: (1) a “single…

The constructive framework of ISDS was intended to promote investment and growth through the establishment of a stable and predictable atmosphere for investment. However, some have argued that this purpose has been warped to allow a small group of private individuals to rule on public matters. Arbitrations such as CMS v Argentina, Tecmed v Mexico,…

Without the rights and protections of a treaty, a foreign investor who suffers a wrongful act at the hands of a host State traditionally has no legal standing to pursue an international claim against that State. Instead, the investor must rely on the diplomatic intervention of its home State to protect the investor’s interests—a corollary…

In the context of the backlash against investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”), one of the main criticisms is the asymmetric nature of investment treaties, which impose numerous obligations on the States, but do not seem to hold corporations accountable for the social, environmental and economic consequences of their activities. Some recent developments reflect a redirection away…

This post gives a bird’s eye view of an   imminent investment arbitration and forecasts procedural and/or jurisdictional hurdles to the case, by analyzing the dispute resolution provision and relevant precedents, with the intention of highlighting recurring inconsistencies on a key procedural issue and urging for more predictable outcomes for the benefits of the stakeholders in…

The morning session of the last day of the ICCA Sydney 2018 Conference on “Potential of Arbitration Involving New Stakeholders” was moderated by Ndanga Kamau and had the insightful contributions of Dr. Campbell McLachlan QC, Prof. Makane Moïse Mbengue and Silvia Marchili. Ndanga Kamau opened the final plenary session by asking the following question: why…

The afternoon session of the second day of the ICCA Sydney 2018 Conference on “New Voices” was moderated by Monty Taylor and had the insightful contributions of Jawad Ahmad, Lucas Bastin, Samantha Lord Hill and Solomon Ebere. Monty Taylor opened the session by noting that not only was this a new initiative for ICCA, but…

The panel on Arbitration Challenged Part I: Reforming Substantive Obligations in Investment Treaties and Conditions of Access to Investment Arbitration, at ICCA Sydney 2018 Conference, was moderated by Meg Kinnear, Secretary General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Canada) and had contributions from speakers Christophe Bondy, Cooley LLP (Canada); Max Bonnell, White…

In the midst of challenges to the very legitimacy of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) celebrated its 50th anniversary and embarked on the fourth ICSID Rules amendment process in ICSID history. The previous amendment processes brought notable additions to the ICSID Rules, such as enhanced transparency in…

The 4th Iraq Energy Forum (IEF), coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Energy Institute, took place this year on 28-29 March at the Rasheed Royal Tulip Hotel. Politically and economically, the context of this IEF was important. The context was that the global reconstruction package in Kuwait had been agreed with the IMF 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…

The 5th Annual ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration was held in Houston last month, and the focus was on the year past and the year ahead in the arbitration of international disputes in the energy industry. From the topics discussed, predictions rendered and questions raised at the conference, attendees departed considering whether the…

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 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…

In the first part of this article, we discussed the need to broaden the debate about the UK’s future trading relationships, touched upon some potential advantages of the UK joining the NAFTA and traced the idea’s limited history. Is there political will? These days, the idea remains on the periphery, even out of sight. Each…

To many, it would seem foolish even to ask whether the UK might join the North American Free Trade Agreement. Yet, the UK should explore all possibilities open in a post-Brexit world. As we explain, the idea that the UK might join the NAFTA is not only conceptually interesting, but also merits entertaining with a…

Critics of the current investor-state arbitration regime may yet have their best days ahead of them. In the midst of tarnished FTA negotiations and in times of political uncertainty, they have captured a global audience. Their message is disconcerting: Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a system designed by and for multinational corporations. It allows faceless…

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…

The EU Foreign Investment Screening Proposal Last September, European Commission President Juncker presented a proposal for a European foreign investment screening regulation – apparently following a request by Germany, France and Italy. The proposal follows-up on the Commission’s “Reflection Paper on Harnessing Globalisation”, published in May 2017. The Reflection Paper notes, inter alia, that “Openness…

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…

The European Commission (“EC”) has recently taken another step in its efforts to replace the traditional investor-state-dispute-settlement (“ISDS”) mechanism which underlies the approximately 1,400 bilateral investment agreements in force between EU Member States and third countries. On 13 September 2017, the EC issued, based on Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the…