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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.


White farmer enlists US federal court in enforcing US$277m arbitral award against Zimbabwe
Bernhard von Pezold and his family have enlisted the help of a US federal court in Washington DC in enforcing a US$277 million arbitral award against Zimbabwe.
Ancient Romanian gold mine given UNESCO protection
The derailment of the plans led Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources to sue the Romanian government for $5.7 billion before the Washington-based ICSID.
Indiana Resources : Compensation claim of AU$127m lodged against Tanzania
Indiana Resources files a memorial on the arbitration with Tanzania over the expropriation of the Ntaka Hill Nickel Project, whereby it claims the amount of AU$127 million, including interest which continues to accrue.
One step forward, two steps back in the struggle against anti-democratic corporate trade rules
Pakistan is the latest country to reject the system that allows private investors to sue governments in international tribunals. But Ecuador is back-tracking and the lawsuits continue to proliferate.
Romania mining town Rosia Montana eyes UNESCO restart
Meanwhile, Gabriel Resources has taken Romania before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, seeking $4.4 billion (3.7 billion euros) in damages.
New Ecuadorian government teams up with powerful international lobbies to rejoin investment treaties prohibited by the constitution
Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) allow foreign capitalists to run roughshod over the rights of Ecuadorians.
Imran okays new bilateral investment treaty template
Pakistan Prime Minister has approved the new Bilateral Investment Treaty template whereby any dispute will now be remedied through local arbitration.
Britain’s Cairn gets French court order to seize 20 Indian properties in Paris
The centrally located properties mostly comprise flats, valued at more than EUR 20 million, used by the Indian government establishment in France.
Leaked diplomatic cables show ‘limited progress’ in Energy Charter Treaty reform talks
Little progress has been made to modernise a controversial agreement on energy investments that activists warn could derail decarbonisation efforts in Europe and across the globe, according to leaked documents.
’Disgusting’: Pipeline company files $15 billion claim against US for canceled Keystone XL
TC Energy Corporation filed for compensation under a free trade provision that allows investors to sue governments if they impede profits.
More than 400 civil society organisations say: Leave the ECT by COP26
More than 400 are calling on political leaders across all European countries to prioritise climate policies, to stick to their climate commitments, and therefore to initiate withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty by COP26.
US$15 billion ISDS claim against USA over Keystone XL oil pipeline cancellation
TC Energy has lodged a US$15 billion Investor-State Dispute Settlement claim against the US government.
Prairie makes a claim against Polish government
Prairie Mining has filed a £806-million statement of claim for compensation against the Republic of Poland as part of its ongoing international arbitration claims.
Costa Rica says wins arbitration case over open-pit gold mine
An international arbitration panel ruled Costa Rica does not owe Canadian miner Infinito Gold compensation after the cancellation of a mining project a decade ago.
Ecuador signs the ICSID Convention
Ecuador had denounced the ICSID Convention in 2009. The convention establishes the institutional and legal framework for resolving international investment disputes.
Corporate power and abuse is a root cause of migration
To seriously address the roots and causes of migration, it is urgent to dismantle the neoliberal rules which grant excessive privileges to transnational corporations.
Conquering EU courts? Big business lobbies in secret for new legal privileges in the EU
Business lobby groups started lobbying the European Commission to create a new parallel justice system, similar to the old intra-EU BITs, but compatible with EU law.
Nigerian govt asked not to ascent to Energy Charter Treaty
Nigerian labour unions and civil society organizations have urged the government not to assent to the ECT, explaining that the Treaty contains provisions for an Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS), which accords investors obscene privileges.
Minister calls for establishment of more arbitration institutions
The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, has called for the establishment and strengthening of more arbitration institutions in Africa in line with international standards.
Ecuador to seek ’payment plan’ for award to French oil company
Ecuador has 60 days to make the payment and has already contacted Perenco to start negotiations. In 2020, the country inked a $6.5 billion emergency deal with the IMF.