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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.


India has till mid-April to appeal against Cairn award on limited ground
India has time till mid-April to file an appeal against an international arbitration tribunal ordering it to repay UK’s Cairn Energy Plc USD 1.2 billion-plus interest and cost, but the challenge can only be on limited grounds such as procedure not being followed.
To what extent will the AfCFTA impact the number of ISDS cases involving African States?
Only 21% of cases administered by ICSID involve African investors, however, this may change with the introduction of AfCFTA, and we may begin to see more disputes involving African investors and African states.
“Super-protections” for corporations
How investment treaties and investor-to-state dispute settlement grant foreign investors greater rights than Dutch and EU law.
Four key points from the ratification of the Indonesia-Singapore bilateral investment treaty
Besides protection and dispute settlement, the BIT also includes several key changes in terms of application and restriction.
Shell’s legal weapon to threaten a just energy future
To realise a future beyond fossil fuels, it is imperative to look at how to disentangle the legal shackles that enable companies to frustrate climate policy and shift the burden of their stranded assets onto the shoulders of taxpayers through arbitration claims.
United Group files claim against Serbia
Netherlands-based United Group claims that Serbia has violated several obligations related to incentives and mutual protection of investments between the two countries.
India firms up grounds for appeal in Cairn Award, to file appeal this week
India will be filing an appeal at The Hague this week against the $1.4-billion arbitration award against British oil firm Cairn Energy.
Germany to pay nuclear operators 2.6 billion euros for plant closures
Vattenfall will get 1.606 billion euros and agreed to end pursuing a separate damages claim in the World Bank’s ICSID arbitration tribunal.
Trade agreements like NAFTA are a menace to democracy
Free-trade agreements enable companies to sue governments if they interfere with profit-making activities, no matter how destructive. These trade deals put us in an antidemocratic straitjacket — it’s time we got rid of them.
International investment agreements and their implications for tax measures
Most international investment agreements do not exclude taxation from their scope, which means that a wide range of tax-related measures are covered by them.
Canadian miner First Majestic wants to resolve its tax dispute with the SAT with international arbitration
Canadian mining company First Majestic Silver Corp submitted a request for arbitration based on NAFTA, due to the tax debt and its differences with the Mexican government.
World Bank body dismisses Agility’s claims against Iraq
Kuwaiti logistics company Agility’s claim to recover more than $380 million it said it lost in Iraq has been rejected by an international tribunal.
Mustaqeem de Gama, South African Mission in Geneva: “It is a bad idea for any African country to consider signing the Energy Charter Treaty”
Joining the Energy Charter Treaty is not in the public interest, according to South Africa’s government. It has also cancelled other agreements that allowed foreign investors to sue their state. This has not stopped investors from coming, says Mustaqeem de Gama.
Take action to end the climate-killing Energy Charter Treaty
Sign the petition to pull out of the Energy Charter Treaty and stop its expansion to other countries!
How Energy Treaty ’shadow’ courts prolong EU’s fossil age
The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states’ energy or climate policies.
India to contest Cairn Energy arbitration award, lawsuits in international court
The move signals the government’s resolve to defend its sovereign rights in taxation. The government has kept open possibility of settling the dispute within existing Indian laws.
Join the movement and sign the petition to #EndFossilProtection
A petition to ensure the Energy Charter Treaty will no longer be used against EU climate and energy policies is now available for supporters on the European Parliament website.
Cairn Energy files case in US to push India to pay $1.2 billion award
Cairn Energy has filed a case in a US district court to enforce a $1.2 billion arbitration award it won in a tax dispute against India, a court document showed, ratcheting up pressure on the government to pay its dues.