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.


International investment law and the [human right to] land

1-Apr-2015 HIC-HLRN In many cases, international investment agreements have the purpose and/or effect of hijacking the international human rights system.

  • 19-Sep-2013 CNN
    Chevron wins major arbitration victory

    In an apparent coup for the oil giant’s efforts to undermine a $19 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, an international tribunal has suggested that the Ecuadorians’ claims in that case were all settled and extinguished in 1995

  • 4-Sep-2013 Mondaq
    "Investment" narrowly construed under NAFTA in Apotex v. US

    In a recent NAFTA Investor-State claim brought against the United States by Apotex Inc., Canada’s largest producer of generic drugs, the Tribunal upheld the US’ preliminary objections to jurisdiction on the grounds that the company’s efforts to win approval for generic drugs in the US market did not make it an "investor" under NAFTA Chapter Eleven.

  • 30-Aug-2013 El Correo
    Mauvais casting pour les juges du Tribunal arbitral CIRDI (ou CIADI) dans l’affaire Repsol

    Dans l’affaire qui oppose Repsol à l’Argentine devant le CIADI (CIRDI en français ou ICSID en anglais), tribunal arbitral de la Banque mondiale, le choix de Claus von Wobeser, comme président du Tribunal et du chilien Orrego Vicuña comme juge, a été vivement rejeté par l’Argentine.

  • 27-Aug-2013 NY Times
    Growth in global disputes brings big paychecks for law firms

    Debt woes, broken contracts and soured business deals may cost global investors billions in losses and create seemingly never-ending headaches for policy makers. But there is a set of specialists profiting from such geopolitical problems: arbitration lawyers.

  • 25-Aug-2013
    Trans-Pacific Partnership talks hit roadblock over anti-smoking policies

    Fast-moving trade talks aimed at reaching an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal have hit a major snag over anti-smoking policies, as divisions emerged over a proposal critics say would expose governments to lawsuits from tobacco companies.

  • 3-Aug-2013
    FTAs actually restrict free trade

    We are told that when trade is free, there will be more trade and nations will prosper. To achieve even freer trade the nations of the world must enter into free trade agreements.

  • 31-Jul-2013
    Nurul Izzah: Don’t bow down to pressure on TPP

    Malaysia’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat VP Nurul Izzah Anwar has accused the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of bowing down to pressure when it agreed to clauses on investor-state dispute settlement in negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

  • 20-Jul-2013
    Karkey serves Rs33b damage notice on Pakistan; Approaches ICSID against water and power ministry

    The Turkish power firm Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim (KKEU) has approached the Washington based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against Pakistan’s water and power ministry and also served a Rs33billion damage notice on the ministry, sources said on Wednesday.

  • 17-Jul-2013 Globe and Mail
    Lilly ramps up NAFTA fight over loss of patents

    US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. has escalated a challenge it launched last year against Canada’s patent rules under the North American free-trade agreement, and is now demanding $500-million in compensation after the company lost its Canadian patents on two drugs.

  • 16-Jul-2013 REDES - AT
    Posicionamiento de REDES – AT Uruguay frente a la reciente decisión del CIADI

    Una muy mala noticia para Uruguay y el Convenio Marco de la OMS sobre Control del Tabaco.

  • 10-Jul-2013
    Treaty disputes roiled by bias charges

    Concerns about objectivity and accountability of investment dispute arbitrators have prompted calls for tougher ethical guidelines as caseloads have exploded.

  • 4-Jul-2013 TDM
    TDM call for papers: "Reform of investor-state dispute settlement: In search of a roadmap"

    Transnational Dispute Management are pleased to announce a forthcoming special issue: "Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement: In Search of A Roadmap."

  • 3-Jul-2013 Bloomberg
    Japan Tobacco said it sued Thailand over health warnings

    Japan Tobacco Inc., Asia’s biggest listed cigarette maker, sued the government of Thailand over a plan to increase the size of health warnings on cigarette packages, claiming the move is unconstitutional.

  • 25-Jun-2013
    ICSID and Latin America: Criticisms, withdrawals and regional alternatives

    Latin American states are the only ones in the world that have decided to withdraw from the ICSID Convention. It is also the only region in the world considering the necessity to find an alternative to ICSID mechanism.

  • 19-Jun-2013 Tobacco Reporter
    PMI awaits jurisdiction ruling in Uruguay bilateral investment treaty litigation

    Philip Morris International expects a decision to be made this month or next on a challenge by Uruguay as to whether an international tribunal set to hear bilateral investment treaty complaints has jurisdiction over the matter.

  • 18-Jun-2013 The News
    Turkish firm Karkey files $700m claim on Pakistan

    A Turkish power generation company has filed a case against the Pakistan government at ICSID for compensation of losses worth 700 million dollars

  • 12-Jun-2013 A transatlantic corporate bill of rights
    A transatlantic corporate bill of rights

    Leaked draft versions of the EU negotiating mandate for a far-reaching free trade agreement with the US reveal the European Commission’s plans to enshrine more powers for corporations in the deal. The proposal follows a persistent campaign by industry lobby groups and law firms to empower large companies to challenge regulations both at home and abroad if they affect their profits.

  • 11-Jun-2013 TNI
    Investor privileges in EU-US trade deal threaten public interest and democracy

    This new briefing from CEO and TNI analyses leaked proposals for investor-state dispute settlement under the proposed EU-US FTA

  • 6-Jun-2013 Bernama
    Argentine court revokes US$19 bln embargo on Chevron

    Argentina’s Supreme Court revoked a US$19 billion embargo on the assets and future income of Chevron Corp.’s Argentina subsidiary, giving the US oil giant a victory in a decades-old battle with indigenous groups in Ecuador.

  • 1-Jun-2013 Eleven Myanmar
    Experts warn Myanmar about risks with investment treaties

    International experts have warned that the use of investment treaty ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)’ for attracting foreign investments into Myanmar is risky as it grants the investors the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against the government under international laws.

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