investor-state disputes | ISDS

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) refers to a way of handling conflicts under international investment agreements whereby companies from one party are allowed to sue the government of another party. This means they can file a complaint and seek compensation for damages. Many BITs and investment chapters of FTAs allow for this if the investor’s expectation of a profit has been negatively affected by some action that the host government took, such as changing a policy. The dispute is normally handled not in a public court but through a private abritration panel. The usual venues where these proceedings take place are the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank), the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the International Court of Justice. ISDS is a hot topic right now because it is being challenged very strongly by concerned citizens in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations, the TransPacific Partnership talks and the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.


Guerre de la cigarette entre Philip Morris et l’Uruguay

27-Feb-2015 La Croix Alors que l’Organisation mondiale de la santé célèbre vendredi 27 février les dix ans de la Convention-cadre pour la lutte antitabac, l’Uruguay, pionnier dans ce combat, fait l’objet d’une plainte déposée il y a cinq ans par le cigarettier Philip Morris.

  • 11-Jul-2014 Global Arbitration Review
    Supporters of investment arbitration launch EU think tank

    Corporate counsel and practitioners in Europe have formed a non-profit association to promote the benefits of investor-state arbitration and influence EU policy on investment protection.

  • 10-Jul-2014 ENDS Europe
    Juncker states his opposition to fracking

    Asked about the trade deal the Commission is currently negotiating with the US, which campaigners fear will allow private companies to challenge the EU’s environmental rules, Mr Juncker stressed that the normal, publicly accountable, court system should be used instead of private courts or arbitration panels.

  • 10-Jul-2014 Basta !
    Comment l’industrie du tabac reprend l’offensive grâce aux traités de libre-échange

    Les Etats membres de l’Union européenne pourront-ils continuer à développer leurs politiques de santé publique, notamment en matière de lutte anti-tabac ? Le Traité transatlantique, actuellement négocié avec les Etats Unis, inquiète.

  • 3-Jul-2014 CEO
    TTIP: debunking the business propaganda over investor rights

    The EU Commission’s plan to enshrine sweeping rights for foreign investors in the EU-US trade deal continues to draw heavy criticism. In response, industry lobby groups, law firms, and arbitrators have launched a tooth and nail defence of the business power grab. See through their propaganda with Corporate Europe Observatory’s guide to investment arbitration.

  • 3-Jul-2014 Sydney Morning Herald
    Australia wins first battle in plain packaging trade dispute

    The Permanent Court of Arbitration has ordered that Australia will be allowed to challenge Philip Morris Asia’s right to contest Australia’s plain packaging laws, on the grounds that the company only bought shares in its Australian arm so that it could launch the case.

  • 3-Jul-2014 Dow Jones Newswires
    Newmont files for arbitration against Indonesia government on ore-export ban

    Newmont Mining Corp. said Tuesday it is filing for international arbitration against the Indonesian government for a mineral-export ban.

  • 1-Jul-2014 ETUC
    Commission closes TTIP consultation — But is it listening?

    Bernadette Ségol the General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation says trade unionists are “particularly concerned at statements from DG Trade implying that the consultation is about a reform of the ISDS system and is not open to a decisive rejection.”

  • 30-Jun-2014 JOL Press
    Traité US-UE: les tribunaux arbitraux permettront-ils aux multinationales de piller les États?

    Un mécanisme de « règlement des différends entre investisseur et Etat » est devenu un instrument aux mains des multinationales pour contester les politiques publiques jugées contraires à leurs intérêts et apparaît dans le traité de libre-échange entre Washington et Bruxelles. Vers quoi s’achemine-t-on ?

  • 17-Jun-2014 No to ISDS
    Non au mécanisme de règlement des différends investisseur-Etat

    Outil qui vous aidera à participer — avant le 6 juillet 2014 — à la consultation de la Commission européenne sur mécanisme de règlement des différends investisseur-Etat (ISDS en anglais) du TTIP en disant NON à ISDS!

  • 17-Jun-2014 No to ISDS
    No to ISDS!

    Web tool to participate — until 6 July 2014 — in the EU consultation on investor-state dispute in TTIP and say NO to ISDS!

  • 12-Jun-2014 BBC
    Business v state investment disputes in EU spotlight

    Should foreign businesses have the right to take a sovereign state to arbitration to seek compensation for a change in the law or government policy? And if so, in exactly what circumstances?

  • 28-May-2014 FFII
    Investor-to-state dispute settlement is a rigged system

    ISDS gives the US an unfair advantage — we can not expect EU companies to win ISDS cases against the US.

  • 26-May-2014 No al TTIP
    Conversaciones sobre estrategia: Confrontando los “súper derechos corporativos” en el TTIP

    La decisión de la Comisión Europea de llevar a Consulta la inclusión del mecanismo de Solución de Controversias Inversionista-Estado en el capítulo de Inversión del Tratado Transatlántico de Comercio e Inversiones (TTIP), es claramente el resultado de la creciente preocupación y presión de las organizaciones sociales europeas y de la ciudadanía en general.

  • 23-May-2014 Reuters
    In Chevron case, Ecuador says new tests prove long-standing pollution

    This week, for the first time, the Ecuadorean government disclosed the results of water and soil testing conducted in 2013 by its experts — the US environmental, engineering and infrastructure consultant Louis Berger Group — at five sites once operated by Chevron predecessor Texaco.

  • 23-May-2014 DW
    ’TTIP serves the major corporations’

    The TTIP trade agreement between the US and the EU is continuing to cause a major row in Europe. Economist Christoph Scherrer tells DW that the corporations’ right to file lawsuits will be particularly problematic.

  • 15-May-2014 PTI
    Nokia invokes India-Finland bilateral treaty to solve tax row

    With tax authorities pressing with over Rs 21,000 crore in unpaid dues, Finnish telecom major Nokia has invoked the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) India has with Finland to resolve the dispute.

  • 14-May-2014 TWN
    Investor-state arbitration system needs ‘complete overhaul’

    A prominent international lawyer has launched a scathing critique of the international arbitration system that deals with investor-state disputes, describing the investment treaties that give rise to this system as "weapons of legal destruction"

  • 13-May-2014 Indian Express
    India: Nokia mulls invoking bilateral investment treaty

    Entangled in a protracted tax mess in the country, Nokia has said that it would like to address the issue under the bilateral investment treaty between Finland and India, sources told The Indian Express.

  • 11-May-2014
    Uruguay’s smoking laws draw tobacco fire

    While Uruguay has been celebrated by liberals around the world for its bold steps to regulate cannabis, with new rules taking effect this week, its similarly pioneering attempts to control smoking of another, legal plant – tobacco – has earned it powerful enemies.

  • 9-May-2014 ETUC
    Canada-EU trade deal: Trojan horse for contested ISDS?

    The EU-Canada trade agreement – which may be concluded on May 8 at the Foreign Affairs Council – should not be used as a ‘Trojan horse’ to smuggle in a controversial Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) warned the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

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