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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.


XL pipeline absurd $15 billion NAFTA ISDS claim
TC Energy expects to get 15 times more money, coming from taxpayers’ pockets, than the asset losses it experienced from the revocation of a permit, that was already denied twice.
How ‘blood mineral’ traders in Rwanda are helping fund Congo rebels – and undermining global supply chains
New evidence from a UN report and a high-profile investor arbitration case is casting a spotlight on Rwanda’s role in sophisticated smuggling networks that extract gold and coltan from Congolese conflict zones and funnel the strategically important minerals illicitly into global supply chains.
India to scrap retrospective tax law in olive branch to global firms
India proposed scrapping a controversial law that taxed companies retrospectively, a move that could potentially settle its multi-billion-dollar tax cases with Cairn Energy and Vodafone.
Pakistan to terminate 23 bilateral investment treaties
Decision aimed at avoiding international arbitration with foreign firms .
Vicat takes dispute with Egyptian state to international arbitration
France-based Vicat raised a case against the Egyptian government with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in late June 2021. It concerns its cement production business.
Experts seek AfCFTA dispute resolution mechanism for non-state parties
Ahead of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) implementation in Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and other stakeholders are seeking dispute resolution mechanisms that will address concerns of non-state entities.
Corporate courts vs the environment
Corporate courts were invented to protect the West’s control of the world against decolonisation. They are now undermining attempts to halt climate change.
Ex-Yukos unit wins new $5 billion court judgement against Russia
The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Russia illegally expropriated loans provided by Yukos Capital Sarl to its former parent company.
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.