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…

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 23 October 2020, Japan and the United Kingdom (UK) signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the agreement coming into force on 1 January 2021. This signifies a historic landmark as the UK’s first trade deal as an independent nation, and represents a key milestone for international trade in a post-Brexit UK. The…

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…

Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. We have all been experiencing a global pandemic for almost a year now. In an era where the legal exception tends to become the mainstream rule, one is left to wonder how far can this reversal of odds go. Is the global public health crisis susceptible to calling into…

Introduction In the past few years, the world has been following the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) reform debate under the aegis of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). This discussion started in 2017, when the UNCITRAL Working Group III began its work on ISDS reform. Among the proposals submitted by member States…

This post summarizes the International Court of Justice President Joan Donoghue’s discussion, on Delos Dispute Resolution’s TagTime series, with Dr. Kabir Duggal and Amanda Lee regarding cognitive biases of arbitrators, which are also applicable to judges. Judge Donoghue analogized the origin of those cognitive biases to how flamingos obtain their pink color, provided some examples…

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,…

It will come as no surprise to the readers of this blog that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on international arbitration (see blog coverage here).  In this post, we take a look back at 2020 to consider the intersection of the pandemic, investment, and human rights.  In February 2020, one of…

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. Against this backdrop, Australia…

There may have been a lot of government restrictions limiting physical gatherings this year, but these restrictions surely did not limit our enthusiasm in gathering (virtually and intellectually) for the first-ever United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (‘UNCITRAL’) Working Group III (‘WGIII’) Pre-Intersessional Meeting. The virtual event, with the theme “The Use of Mediation…

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”), concluded on 24 December 2020 and provisionally applicable since the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, regulates the relationship of the EU and the UK after Brexit. It forms a basis for an evolving relationship between the Parties and may further change, depending on scrutiny…

In 2019, we were wondering whether winter had come to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), bringing with it a decline in the negotiation and conclusion of bilateral investment treaties. Looking back on 2020, we are left asking ourselves a similar question. This post will examine the year’s major institutional developments and their effects on ISDS both…

Although the Old Continent has suffered tremendously at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of arbitration still managed to find a way to keep on going. In this post, we are going to provide an overview of the most pivotal arbitration developments that occurred on the European soil in 2020. Among others, these…

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 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by its 15 Parties (after India, an initial negotiating party, withdrew from negotiations) on 15 November 2020. The signature of this agreement amid the COVID-19 pandemic has made quite a headline given it is the largest free trade agreement in history in terms of the Parties’ combined…

The announcement on 13 August 2020 of a rapprochement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (‘UAE’) took the world by surprise. Seasoned regional observers noted quiet cooperation and cross-border transactions over the past few years, but few expected these covert relationships to burst into public view so fully and wholeheartedly. The joint declaration, soon…

With the results of the U.S. presidential election announced last week, international lawyers are now looking closely at how the incoming Biden Administration will handle the many challenges facing the global legal order.  President-elect Biden has promised to turn away from the unilateralism that marked the Trump presidency and instead focus on multilateral reengagement. But…

Much has been written – on this page and elsewhere – about the future viability of investor-state arbitration based on intra-EU BITs in the aftermath of the CJEU’s Achmea decision. In the authors’ view, the May 2020 Termination Agreement concluded between 23 of the 27 EU Member States with the intention to terminate existing intra-EU…

On 5 May 2020, 23 Member States of the European Union (“EU”) signed an Agreement for the Termination of all Intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (“Agreement”). Following ratification by the Kingdom of Denmark (6 May 2020) and Hungary (30 July 2020), the Agreement entered into force on 29 August 2020 (Article 16). The Agreement comes in…

Ever looked up at the night sky and wondered…what is the regulatory and dispute settlement regime that governs commercial activities out there? Well, it might be about time you did. This post celebrates October’s World Space Week by looking at the developments in the legal framework regulating commercial space activities and how the investor-state dispute…

On 14 October 2020, Professor Zachary Douglas QC delivered the 19th annual Clayton Utz and University of Sydney International Arbitration Lecture as part of Australian Arbitration Week. This year’s topic was a response to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) review of its bilateral investment treaties (BITs). This blog post provides an overview…

On 15 July 2020, an UNCITRAL Tribunal rendered a Partial Award on Jurisdiction in a dispute between Mr. Lee-Chin ­­and the Dominican Republic (DR) concerning the alleged expropriation of a landfill in Santo Domingo. The arbitrators had to decide whether the arbitration clause – enshrined in Article XIII, Annex III, of the Caribbean Community-Dominican Republic…