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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.


We need to talk about valuation in ISDS
Investors are receiving monetary damages that they would not be entitled to outside of ISDS, on the basis of an unjustified and highly reductive understanding of value.
Epidemic sovereignty? Contesting investment treaty claims arising from coronavirus measures
Allegedly arbitrary or disproportionate measures, albeit in the public interest, provide regular grist for the mill of investment treaty arbitration.
Covid-19: Why India doesn’t need to worry about investor-State dispute settlement claims
In order to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) and to boost the public health care system and preparedness, India has taken several regulatory steps.
Zimbabwe’s white farmers angered by ‘racist’ edict
The group, representing nearly 4,500 dispossessed commercial farmers, said the new regulations only affect ‘’indigenous’’ farmers and foreigners protected by Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs).
Miner South32 files request for arbitration in Colombia royalty dispute
Mining company South32 has filed a request for arbitration at the World Bank over a dispute with Colombia concerning royalty payments from its majority-owned Cerro Matoso ferronickel mine:
Could COVID-19 emergency measures give rise to investment claims? First reflections from Italy
Emergency measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect the economy could lead to claims under bilateral investment treaties.
In a new ICSID award, Spain’s reforms of the renewable energy sector are found not to violate the ECT
The claimants initiated ICSID arbitration against Spain, claiming breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty, including the fair and equitable treatment, umbrella and non-impairment clauses.
Guatemalan water protectors persist, despite mining company threats
The hard work of protecting water and land from the long-term harms associated with gold and silver mining takes place daily on the frontlines of tenacious struggles throughout Latin America and around the world.
Hungary held liable for expropriating the investment of a British investor and ordered to pay EUR 7 million in compensation for damages
Magyar and Inicia filed for arbitration against Hungary claiming expropriation of their leasehold rights to the land, following an agricultural sector reform to promote family farms over farming companies.
Mexico: Investors need to protect foreign investments in times of changing treaty protections
Because of changing attitudes with regard to "expansive" investor protections contained in current treaties, investors need to think ahead and negotiate for the necessary protections to be included in investment contracts.
Win for Mauritius in world heritage development dispute
The government of Mauritius triumphed in an investor-state arbitration against a group of United Kingdom property developers who wanted to develop property at a UNESCO World Heritage site on the island.
Risky business: Uniper’s potential investor-state dispute against the Dutch coal ban
While policies aiming to phase out coal are necessary to tackle climate change, they may give rise to legal claims from companies whose investments are adversely affected by the low-carbon energy transition.
Antofagasta : 2019 preliminary results
ICSID appointed a committee to consider Pakistan’s annulment application which is expected to reach a conclusion in the next one to two years.
2019 annual results
Gabriel has provided notice to Romania of a dispute with regard to Romania’s application to UNESCO in relation to Roşia Montană and has reserved its right to commence a further arbitration.
The Energy Charter Treaty threatens the European Green Deal, NGOs denounce
Civil society activists and scientific experts denounce the unsustainable practice of investment disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty.
Zimbabwe offers land as compensation for 800 seized farms
The dispossessed farmers covered in the land compensation scheme are citizens of countries that have bilateral investment agreements with Zimbabwe.
Investor–State Dispute Settlement using the ECOWAS Court of Justice: An analysis and some proposals
Given the present widespread dissatisfaction with investor–State dispute settlement, the ECOWAS Court can provide an alternative to arbitration that is already up and running.
The ISDS reform process: The missing development agenda
For developing countries, governing foreign direct investment through IIAs and ISDS corresponds to a policy model discredited by years of social and economic failures.
ICSID Tribunal dismisses claims against the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
The tribunal dismissed the claimants’ invocation of the UK-Sri Lanka BIT on jurisdictional grounds.
Romania wins €2.36bn lawsuit against spirits producer
Romania has won the second lawsuit filed against it by brothers Ioan and Viorel Micula, who accused Romania of allowing the development of a black market for the sale of alcohol.