The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) has recently become a household name, moving from the oblivion of the 1990s, when the treaty was drafted, to one of the most hotly debated topics in legal (and other) circles nowadays. Some have demonized it as an instrument for the corporate usurpation of democratic functions, such as the host…

The signatories of the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) have begun the process of the Treaty’s modernisation. This is by no means a small task given the complexity of the Treaty’s scope which covers energy trading, efficiency, transit, investment protection and dispute resolution. Additionally, in order to amend it, all the signatories need to be on…

In the absence of a uniform standard of compensation under the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”), tribunals have been tasked with filling the gap and have done so by exercising an important margin of appreciation for the assessment of damages. Such wide discretion has resulted in divergent approaches in assessing damages. Since the first ECT decision,…

Today, there is no universal code of conduct, no single professional regulatory organization or global certification process in the field of investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”). Instead, the field of international arbitration is didactically governed by self-policing, episodic, and distinct ad hoc measures serving to collectively safeguard the integrity of the international arbitration process. On the…

The investment protection mechanism in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is meant to, among other things, promote, attract, and protect foreign investments in the member states’ energy sectors. In 2018, the Energy Charter Conference announced its list of approved topics for the modernization of the ECT. The list included several substantive investment protection provisions. This…

On 1 July 2020, the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (“AFSA”), a leading arbitral institution in South Africa, launched its new draft International Arbitration Rules for public comment.  The International Arbitration Rules were launched via a webinar co-hosted by Professor Dr. Maxi Scherer, chairperson of AFSA’s Drafting Committee and Advisory Board, and Patrick Lane SC,…

Denial of benefits clauses (DoB) have gained considerable traction in the past prolific years of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), and more specifically, with the growing number of Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) arbitrations. UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Hub still lists a considerably small number of international investment agreements (IIAs) providing for DoB: little above 200 which would…

Modernisation of any multilateral treaty is a category of tasks on its own. There are several prerequisites which shall be in place, apart from obsolete language and provisions. The most crucial element is a steady political will of a critical mass of countries based on the strong motivation, which will break inertia and create new…

The impact of the pandemic on arbitration has been the subject of several posts on this Blog (see here and here). Rightly so, this is a seismic event in history that certainly has shaken the dispute resolution process, both state sponsored judiciaries as well as arbitration tribunals and practice generally. Entities which fall victim during…

The Energy Charter Treaty (‘ECT’) opened for signature in 1994, entered into force in 1998, and now boasts some 50 member States. The ECT has since given rise to some 130 investor-State arbitrations, making it “the most frequently invoked international investment agreement”. This high use, coupled with a perception that the ECT is frequently invoked…

We are happy to report that the latest issue of the ASA Bulletin is now available and includes the following articles and cases:   ARTICLES Felix DASSER, The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Fine – But How Much and For How Long, Exactly? And What Does It All Mean For Us? In his message, ASA President,…

In a ‘ground-breaking’ precedential decision, Al-Kharafi v Libya (Judgment No. 39 of 130 JY, 3 June 2020), the Cairo Court of Appeal in Egypt ruled that it can review an arbitral award for fundamental errors of law that amount to a violation of public policy or equity and justice notions. The decision relates to an…

Conducting all or parts of a hearing in the form of a virtual hearing has become a daily reality for many arbitrators, parties, and witnesses as the COVID pandemic continues to disrupt the legal practice. But as countries gradually ease out of lockdown and find their way into a “new” normal, it may be worth…

On 27 February 2020, Canada availed itself of the opportunity provided by Article 827(2) Canada-Colombia FTA (“FTA”) to make a non-disputing party submission (“NDPS”) in Eco Oro Minerals v Colombia. The case concerns issues arising out of a mining restriction imposed to establish an environmental conservation zone. It was initiated in late 2016; hearings took…

Previous posts have already covered various aspects of data protection in international arbitration proceedings and also in view of cybersecurity. Meanwhile, new and crucial data protection aspects have arisen with regards to video conferencing. The ICCA / IBA’s Joint Task Force on Data Protection (“Joint Task Force”) in International Arbitration Proceedings has joined forces to…

For awards issued in cases administered by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”) Hong Kong Arbitration Center, parties can enforce them in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong out of the many other possible jurisdictions. What they cannot do, however, is to simultaneously enforce the award in both jurisdictions. This is expressly prohibited under…

The travel restrictions and social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought about an exponential increase of virtual get-togethers, including hearings via video conferencing in both litigation and arbitration proceedings. Courts and tribunals in England and Wales reported an increase of audio hearings by over 500% and video hearings by 340% during the…

Serafín García Armas and Karina García Gruber v. Venezuela and Clorox Spain v. Venezuela are different in many aspects. García Armas relates to dual nationality, while Clorox relates to protected investment. However, they have a common feature: Article 1(2) of the Spain–Venezuela BIT was key to their developments. That article defines investments as “any kind…

Travel and other restrictions due the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that virtual hearings have become the “new normal” for international commercial arbitration, and even perhaps for investor-state arbitrations. But what are the longer-term prospects for virtual hearings or “e-arbitration” more generally, and even for the relative popularity of arbitral seats, in the wake of the…

How severely are international construction projects affected by global COVID-19 pandemic? What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean for international construction disputes? As with so many other questions arising in relation to the pandemic, these questions will only be answered definitively in retrospect. For construction arbitration practitioners though, one of the immediate and graspable effects has…

On 10 July 2020, a panel of arbitration practitioners discussed the topic of “Recent Developments and Key Arbitration Trends in Asia” as part of the 2020 Paris Arbitration Week. The panel discussion covered the distinctive features of and the latest developments in five different jurisdictions: Singapore, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and India. Hosted by…

The third edition of the Jeantet “Arbitrating in CEE and CIS” roundtable was held virtually during the Paris Arbitration Week on Wednesday, 8 July 2020. The topic of this year’s edition laid stress upon “Do and Don’t’s When Choosing a Seat and Enforcing in CEE/ CIS/ Russia: State of Play”. Because of both the significant…

The 4th ICC European Conference on International Arbitration took place on Tuesday 7 July 2020, during the second day of the Paris Arbitration Week. This first-ever digital edition saw record numbers with 1,450 participants connecting from all corners of the world. Alexis Mourre, President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, acknowledged in his welcome…

The COVID-19 pandemic catapulted discussions on online dispute resolution methods like no other phenomenon. With this, determining the proper seat for online arbitration has become the center of conversation. As the world adapted to the challenges presented by the pandemic, so too did international arbitration. Suddenly, there was a wave of virtual hearings, webinars and…