The Achmea saga has taken yet another twist. In a recent communication to the Dutch Parliament, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate disclosed that it initiated “anti-arbitration” proceedings before the German courts on 11 May 2021 to “avert” two ECT-based ICSID arbitrations brought against it by the German energy companies RWE and Uniper (“Communication”)….

International arbitration is changing at a fast pace, and opportunities arise every day in this field. In this context, on May 25, 2021, Young Arbitral Women Practitioners, Holland & Knight, and Rising Arbitrators Initiative co-hosted a webinar to discuss emerging fields of practice for arbitration lawyers. This post offers an overview of the variety of…

On 23 April 2021, Paul Vlas, Advocate-General of the Dutch Supreme Court issued his opinion in the Yukos case, setting the stage for the final setting aside act in The Hague after nine years of PCA-administered arbitration and six years of setting aside litigation. Advocate-General Vlas had previously advised the Dutch Supreme Court to reject…

The investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism provided by Art. 26 (2) (c) of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is highly relevant to the protection of intra-EU investments.1)In 2018, about 45 per cent of all treaty-based intra-EU investment arbitrations were brought pursuant to the ECT. See UNCTAD, Fact Sheet on Intra-European Union Investor-State Arbitration Cases, IIA…

Intra-EU investment agreements and arbitration have been a highly divisive issue in European policy circles for decades. The European Commission has been forcefully pushing for the termination of these agreements since the early 2000s. It criticised inter alia that intra-EU investment agreements and arbitration undermine the European legal order and create inequality among European investors…

No doubt, the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) has become the hottest topic in the investment treaty arbitration world. Not only are EU Member States the most frequent respondent in ECT disputes – for example, the Netherlands has recently received its first ECT claim – but the ECT itself is currently in the middle of a…

On December 11, 2020, the Dispute Resolution Interest Group (“DRIG”) of the American Society of International Law (“ASIL”) hosted a webinar on “The Future of Investor-State Dispute Settlement under the Energy Charter Treaty.”  The event featured Amaia Rivas Kortazar, André von Walter, Crina Baltag, and Yuriy Pochtovyk, and was moderated by DRIG co-chairs Simon Batifort…

Following a highly-publicized diplomatic battle among the EU Member States (MS), the EU revealed in mid-February its proposal to amend the ECT’s definition of the “Economic Activity in the Energy Sector” (EAES). The announcement allayed fears of the intra-EU discussions on the matter falling apart. Insofar as it sets forth a vision for amendments that…

On 15 January 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit Court”) handed down its decision in LLC SPC Stileks v. Republic of Moldova, No. 19-7106 (D.C. Cir. 2021)—a case concerning the confirmation of an arbitral award against the Republic of Moldova. The US courts confirmed the award…

Swedish state-owned power energy company Vattenfall operated two nuclear power plants located in Brunsbüttel and Krümmel, Germany. Vattenfall owns a 50% interest in the Krümmel plant, and a 66.6% interest in the Brunsbüttel plant. In August 2011, against the backdrop of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the German Parliament amended the Act on the…

In the early 2000s, several European states introduced generous incentive programs to attract investors to renewable energy, triggering an investment boom. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008, however, the incentive payments put a strain on regulators. The subsequent changes to the regulations of the renewable energy sector implemented by Spain, Italy,…

Traditionally, one of the central pillars of the FET standard has been the protection of legitimate expectations. Legitimate expectations can be either based on a host state’s specific representations provided to the investor, or, under certain conditions, such expectation can be based on the regulatory framework that existed at the time of making the investment….

The Renewable Energy Target (RET), Australia’s key policy instrument for encouraging electricity generation from renewable sources, has been described as a policy hampered by politicisation. Notwithstanding such criticism, in 2019, it was reported that Australia’s energy system is undergoing the transition to renewables faster than any other country in the world.1)Blakers et al., (2019) “Pathway…

COVID-19 has already destroyed many businesses, and insolvencies will only increase as governments withdraw temporary protections. Recent decisions highlight the potential for external administrators of these insolvent companies to use investment treaty arbitration to recover assets, even from the state that appointed the administrators. Generally, external administrators are appointed by directors, creditors or courts to…

Since Achmea there has been much debate on whether its reasoning invalidates ECT intra-EU investor state clauses as a matter of EU and international law. The recent AG’s Opinion in Cases C‑798/18 and C‑799/18 does not provide an answer to this question as a matter of EU law. A review of CJEU case law in…

On 3 December 2020, Belgium announced the submission of a request to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) for an opinion on whether the intra-European application of the arbitration provisions of the future modernised Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) are compatible with the EU Treaties. Belgium indicated that the purpose of its request…

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…

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…

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…

After the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) rendered the Achmea decision, heated discussions on its impact ensued. Particularly, the concern raised on whether the ICSID proceeding provided for in intra-EU BITs and intra-EU disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) would be valid. Several arbitral tribunals and national courts have dealt with…

The Paris Court of Appeal has recently sought a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the interpretation of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in the ongoing Republic of Moldova v. Komstroy case.   A 20-Year-Old Tale The Republic of Moldova v. Komstroy case highlights the contradicting approaches to…

Introduction On the 18th of February, the Court of Appeal in The Hague reversed the lower court’s decision annulling the awards rendered against the Russian Federation in Veteran Petroleum Ltd., Yukos Universal Ltd. and Hulley Enterprises Ltd. cases. The awards are thus revived. Notwithstanding the global notoriety and public controversy, the identity of the protagonists,…