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.


Is TPP trade deal a massive giveaway to major corporations? An exchange between Obama and Sherrod Brown

28-Apr-2015 Washington Post Obama leans hard into the idea that TPP’s ISDS will be drawn explicitly to prevent corporate gaming of the litigation process

  • 27-Dec-2013 Tlaxcala
    Open letter of civil society against investor privileges in TTIP

    Over 100 civil society groups and social movements from Europe and the USA have signed on an open letter that was sent to the chief negotiators of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to voice one joint demand: to exclude any Investor-state Dispute Settlement mechanism from the TTIP

  • 20-Dec-2013 Le Monde Diplomatique
    El Tratado Transatlántico/ Un tifón amenaza a Europa

    Iniciadas en 2008, las discusiones sobre el acuerdo de libre comercio entre Canadá y la Unión Europea culminaron el pasado 18 de octubre. Un buen presagio para Estados Unidos, que espera concluir una asociación de este tipo con el Viejo Continente. Proyecto que, de concretarse, someterá a los Estados a las normas del liberalismo.

  • 19-Dec-2013 Amigos de la Tierra
    La democracia en grave peligro por el Tratado de Libre Comercio entre la Unión Europea y Estados Unidos

    Amigos de la Tierra alerta de que los inversores podrían tener más poder que gobiernos e instituciones democráticamente elegidos.

  • 19-Dec-2013 Global Legal Post
    Romania loses major arbitration case

    In a victory which may have major ramifications for international law, US law firm King & Spalding has won a $250 million arbitration case for Romanian company Micula against the Republic of Romania.

  • 18-Dec-2013 Economic Times
    India-UAE BIPPA: Government builds safeguards to protect itself

    India has introduced provisions in the just-concluded bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement (BIPPA) with the United Arab Emirates to ensure that only executive decisions can be challenged and that too within a stipulated period.

  • 16-Dec-2013 TV5Monde
    Accords de libre échange : les Etats de l’Union bientôt attaqués en justice ?

    Le modèle économique et juridique qui s’annonce avec l’accord de libre échange entre l’Union européenne et les Etats-Unis pourrait-il mettre en cause la souveraineté des Etats ?

  • 26-Nov-2013
    Is ICSID really good for the Canadian taxpayer?

    Most trade lawyers across the country are lauding Canada’s ratification of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Convention. But they glaze over the serious and far-reaching effects for Canadian public policy.

  • 12-Nov-2013
    Harper moves to give up more Canadian sovereignty

    Tthe Harper government recently committed Canada to ratify the ICSID Convention.

  • 10-Nov-2013
    Israeli investors seek damages from Hungary in international arbitration court

    The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), in Washington, DC, will hear a case by Israeli investors seeking more than 100 billion forints (EUR 337m) in damages from the state of Hungary because of a failed casino investment, daily Magyar Nemzet said on its website on Saturday.

  • 9-Nov-2013
    CETA is more about corporate rights than free trade

    Since announcing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) two weeks ago Harper’s Conservatives have repeatedly labelled those questioning the deal as “anti-trade”. But this Canada-European Union accord is one part trade and four parts ‘corporate bill of rights’.

  • 8-Nov-2013
    Govt to cough up Rs90m for ICSID case

    The federal government, which is facing financial crisis and seeking loans from IMF and other financial institutes, is willing to pay Rs90 million to a Pakistani law firm to plead its case in an international court.

  • 3-Nov-2013
    Argentina settles five outstanding investment treaty arbitration claims in historic break with its anti-enforcement stance

    Argentina has agreed to settle five separate investment treaty arbitration claims at a cost of around USD 500 million, in an historic departure from the Latin American state’s refusal to comply with awards made by international investment treaty arbitration bodies.

  • 3-Nov-2013
    Canada ratifies World Bank’s ICSID Convention

    Canada has confirmed its ratification of the World Bank’s ICSID Convention by depositing its “Instrument of Ratification” with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes on Nov. 1, 2013.

  • 2-Nov-2013
    Pakistan seeks amendment in ICSID’s order

    Pakistan has landed in hot waters following the provisional decision of ICSID (international court for settlement of investment disputes) announced on October 16 which says that government of Pakistan should allow the Karkey’s vessel based power generation unit to move from Karachi port, as Supreme Court’s verdict is quite vivid that says that unless and until Karkey gives $ 128 million to Pakistan it cannot be allowed to leave the port, Pakistan Observer has learnt reliably.

  • 31-Oct-2013
    Why South Africa should send the Dutch government a letter in the next two weeks

    1st of November 2013 is an important date if one wants to get rid of this outdated treaty which poses growing risk to policy making in the public interest

  • 30-Oct-2013 ATTAC Argentina
    We reject the offers made by the Argentine government to pay the ICSID claims

    ATTAC Argentina declare that we reject the offer made by the Argentine government to pay 500 million dollars to five transnational corporations that sued our country before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

  • 11-Oct-2013 Computerworld
    TTIP Update III

    Glyn Moody addresses the EU’s latest document "Incorrect claims about investor-state dispute settlement"

  • 4-Oct-2013 ATTAC Argentina
    Rechazamos los avances del Gobierno argentino para pagar las demandas en el CIADI

    Desde ATTAC Argentina manifestamos nuestro rechazo al avance manifestado por el Gobierno argentino de pagar 500 millones de dólares a cinco empresas transnacionales que demandaron al país en el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias sobre Inversiones (CIADI).

  • 3-Oct-2013 La República, Perú
    ¿Nueva demanda contra el Perú?

    Las demandas de arbitraje contra los Estados por parte de los inversionistas son uno de los más importantes “súper derechos” que les confieren los TLC. Uno de sus usos más perversos de estos derechos es la posibilidad de ejercer presión contra los Estados, para que retrocedan en las medidas asumidas, amenazándolos con el inicio de un arbitraje.

  • 20-Sep-2013 AP
    Arbitration panel rules for Chevron on Ecuador Amazon pollution case

    Plaintiffs’ hopes for collecting a $19 billion judgment awarded by an Ecuadorean court against Chevron Corp. for oil contamination in the Amazon have suffered another potential setback.

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