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.

  • 20-Feb-2013
    Reko Diq saga: Balochistan wins again

    Amidst continuing violence plaguing Balochistan, there is now a cause of joy for the Baloch people and the government.

  • 20-Feb-2013 Traidcraft
    Investors running wild on land: the threats posed by international investment agreements

    A recent briefing note by Traidcraft discusses the threats posed by current regulation of foreign investment in land highlighting that food security and other human rights concerns often come at the cost of excessive protection of foreign investors’ rights.

  • 18-Feb-2013
    Plain packaging for cigarettes a legal minefield

    Lawsuits are seen as the inevitable next step if plain packaging of cigarettes is brought in. The government will announce a decision on the matter in the next few days.

  • 16-Feb-2013 National Farmers Union
    CETA Investor-State Dispute Settlement process “anti-democratic, unnecessary and unfair,” says NFU

    The National Farmers Union is among the labour, environmental, Indigenous, women’s, academic, health sector and fair trade organizations representing over 65 million people from both sides of the Atlantic that have signed a joint statement demanding that Canada and the EU stop negotiating an excessive and controversial investor rights chapter in the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

  • 14-Feb-2013 TNI
    Intra-EU bilateral investment treaties: A test for European solidarity

    Corporations in Western Europe are suing Central and Eastern European countries at international arbitration tribunals through a vast web of intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs).

  • 14-Feb-2013 TRNN
    Why can corporate interests trump sovereign rights?

    Real News Network interviews Chakravarthi Raghavan on how companies can sue countries under trade and investment agreements

  • 11-Feb-2013
    Hearings to start in Uruguay anti-smoking

    Uruguay faces its first hearings in the French capital this week in a lawsuit filed by US tobacco giant Philip Morris International against its anti-smoking laws, an official said on Monday.

  • 11-Feb-2013 Open Democracy
    Profiting from injustice: challenging the investment arbitration industry

    Corporations have been granted the exclusive right to sue states (states cannot sue corporations) at secretive international tribunals for action deemed to unfairly affect investors’ profits

  • 5-Feb-2013
    Reko Diq: the other side

    Earlier last month, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry declared null and void the Reko Diq gold and copper mine agreement, the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA), with Tethyan Copper Company (TCC).

  • 5-Feb-2013
    The Reko Diq Saga

    The Supreme Court recently declared void and illegal a mining deal for the Reko Diq copper project signed 20 years ago between the Balochistan government and international mining companies.

  • 1-Feb-2013 Kyunghyang Shimun
    Korea-Belgium investment agreement, a hole for investor lawsuits

    The Korean government is fighting a ISD suit by US based private equity fund Lone Star. The ISD suit was established through Lone Star’s paper company in Belgium and initiated through an investment treaty between Belgium and South Korea.

  • 1-Feb-2013 Kyunghyang Shimun
    Lone Star’s arbitration claim was possible because of a deficient agreement

    The article discusses a blunder in the Korean government in failing to include an anti-paper company clause that is now allowing companies to use the Belgium investment treaty as a backdoor for ISD suits.

  • 28-Jan-2013
    CIADI: Decisión favorable a Venezuela y dudas en Costa Rica

    Hace unos dias, el CIADI dió a conocer el fallo emitido el pasado 12 de diciembre del 2012 en relación a la demanda interpuesta por la empresa minera canadiense Vanessa Ventures contra Venezuela en el año 2004. En su decisión, los tres árbitros del tribunal arbitral del CIADI desestiman la demanda por 1.045 millones de US$ presentada por la empresa canadiense contra Venezuela.

  • 22-Jan-2013 The Hindu
    BIPA talks put on hold

    In a significant development, the Government of India has ordered a freeze of all Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements (BIPA) negotiations till a review of the model text of BIPA is carried out and completed. This follows a spate of show cause notices on the Government by foreign companies seeking to recover their investments under the agreement.

  • 21-Jan-2013 Xinhua
    Lone Star files investor state dispute lawsuit against S. Korea

    The finance ministry said that the South Korean government rejects Lone Star’s accusations regarding this dispute, noting that the government has been preparing for trial. It added that the government will pay full attention to the arbitration proceedings and will aggressively defend its self against Lone Star’s unjust accusations.

  • 16-Jan-2013
    Supreme Court trashes Reko Diq agreement

    It is wonderful that the stance of the government of Balochistan has been upheld by the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan. Decision given on 7th January, 2013 by the SC has declared the agreement on Reko Diq signed on July 23, 1993 as void and in conflict with the laws of the country. Tethyan Copper Company Pvt Limited (TCC) also lost its case in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on December 13, 2012.

  • 10-Jan-2013
    Red Electrica seeks arbitration over Bolivia nationalisation

    Spanish power grid operator Red Electrica said on Tuesday it had begun to seek World Bank arbitration over Bolivia’s expropriation of its transmission business TDE.

  • 8-Jan-2013 The Hindu
    Need to align bilateral investment treaty regime with global reality

    The changing dynamic of the global economy has led to a transformation in the role of developing countries as both capital importing and exporting States. There is an urgent need to redefine the global BIT regime to reflect this changing paradigm.

  • 3-Jan-2013 Business Reporter
    Zimbabwe admits Word Bank ruling on farm invasions

    After 3 years and 8 months, Zimbabwe has admitted financial liability on illegal farm invasions and forthwith issued a statement that they are ceasing all farm invasions on properties protected by bilateral investment treaties.

  • 24-Dec-2012
    Investment protection clause: India can’t do a Maldives without paying a price

    Recent disputes, including the GMR-Maldives government row and the clash between foreign telecom firms Telenor, Sistema, Etisalat and Vodafone and the Indian government, have exposed India’s vulnerable position in investment agreements. While the foreign telecom companies can use a potent weapon - the ’investment protection’ clause in bilateral treaties - against India, GMR cannot do the same with Maldives.

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