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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.


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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Venezuela claims ICSID arbitration victory over Panama’s OPIC Karimun Oil Company
Venezuela reported a triumph at the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in a case brought by Panama’s OPIC Karimun Corporation on compensation for losses it sustained when Venezuela nationalized oil fields in 2007.
South American Silver lands international arbitration funding agreement
Vancouver-based South American Silver (SAS), which early in May filed for arbitration against the Bolivian government over the cancellation of mineral tenements in 2012, has entered into a privileged arbitration funding agreement with an international investment fund specialising in such proceedings.
Coup d’etat to trade seen in billionaire toxic lead fight
Most of La Oroya’s children suffer elevated lead levels, according to the Peruvian government. Parents say some have symptoms — consistent with lead poisoning — that include anemia, convulsions, stunted growth, mental retardation.
Unfair, unsustainable, and under the radar
A new paper from the Democracy Center sheds an urgent public light on the system of international investment rules and arbitration tribunals that is being used by corporations to undermine citizen and government action on a range of urgent social and environmental issues.
Consumers International releases three new papers on the TPP for the Lima round
Consumers International (CI) has commissioned the production of three papers, the first on the competition chapter by one of our members, and the other two by independent experts, respectively covering the investment chapter and how it affects A2K, and the free flow of information provision and its impacts on privacy.
Reko Diq finally abandoned by Canadians, TCC
Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), a joint venture between Canada’s Barrick Gold and Chilean miner Antofagasta, has given up hope of eventually mining Reko Diq, a disputed but promising copper-gold project in Pakistan’s poorest region, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.
Treaty-based disputes between investors, states on the rise, says Unctad
Dispute settlements between investors and states saw 62 new cases initiated last year, the highest number of known treaty-based disputes filed in a year, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) in March.
Bilateral investment pacts can’t be subject to foreign jurisdictions: FM
India’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram has made it clear that any bilateral investment protection agreement has to be subject to jurisdiction of domestic legal institutions and India will not allow it to be subjected to foreign courts or tribunals.
Treaty-based disputes between investors, states on the rise, says Unctad
Dispute settlements between investors and states saw 62 new cases initiated last year, the highest number of known treaty-based disputes filed in a year, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad)
BIT claim brought against Turkmenistan following UN finding of human rights violations
Following a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (“UNHRC“) in 2010 that a Turkish businessman had suffered violations of his human rights after being illegally convicted of economic crimes, a claim for compensation is now being pursued under the Turkey-Turkmenistan bilateral investment treaty (“BIT“). This case therefore highlights the interesting interaction between the human rights and investment protection regimes.