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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.


Chevron urges arbitration in $27 bln Ecuador case
Chevron Corp urged a US federal appeals court not to force it into Ecuador’s courts, but to allow it to go to international arbitration, to defend a $27.4 bn lawsuit alleging its oilfields polluted the Amazon rainforest and sickened thousands of Ecuadorians.
Argentina scores second win in World Bank arbitration committee
The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or Icsid, dismissed the claims lodged by Enron Creditors Recovery Corp and Ponderosa Assets L.P. late Friday.
ICSID cancels another sentence against Argentina
A committee of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in favour of Argentina and cancelled a decision by which it had been condemned to pay more than US$106 million to shareholding companies of the local Southern Gas Conveyor (TGS)
International arbitration on SL oil hedging tomorrow
A dispute initiated by Deutsche Bank against the government of Sri Lanka will be a test case on whether derivatives contracts should be considered ’investments’ under bilateral investment treaties
Ghana wins arbitration dispute with German investor
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has, in a landmark ruling, granted an award in favour of Ghana over an arbitration dispute instituted against her on September 24, 2007 by a German investment company, Gustav F. W. Hamester.
Pan American Energy takes Bolivia to ICSID over nationalization of Chaco Petroleum
Anglo-Argentinean energy firm Pan American Energy has initiated arbitration against Bolivia over the nationalization of its subsidiary Chaco Petroleum by the Morales government in 2009.
Will Chevron get away with destroying the Amazon?
Litigation over the ecological disaster that is Lago Agrio has produced a decades-long narrative that rivals Finnegans Wake in complexity.
The global investment agenda - an OECD perspective
According to the OECD, there are 3000 bilateral and regional investment agreements in existence today yet a reluctance to enforce investor-state arbitral awards. OECD wants to draw up a "Model Investment Treaty" to harmonise things.
Chevron wins bid for Ecuador arbitration
Steven Donziger, an attorney who represents the Ecuadorans suing Chevron, complained that the lawsuit’s plaintiffs won’t be able to participate in the arbitration proceeding, which will only involve Chevron and the Ecuadoran government. The plaintiffs, he said, will push forward with their lawsuit, regardless.
US judge rules for Chevron in Ecuador case
Chevron Corp may pursue an international arbitration claim over environmental pollution allegations in Ecuador, a judge ruled on Thursday, part of a long-running case that carries a potential $27 billion liability for the second-largest US oil company.
Uruguay: Philip Morris files first-known investment treaty claim against tobacco regulations
The move is certain to be closely watched by international lawyers and policymakers alike, as it will serve as an early test-case of the little-used intellectual property protections contained in BITs.
Ecuador sees ruling in Occidental case in second half of year
The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes may soon rule on a case brought by US oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp. against Ecuador
Philip Morris vs. Uruguay
Uruguay’s new health legislation, expected to go into effect in March 2010, requires that 80 percent of each side of cigarette boxes be covered by graphic images of the possible detrimental health effects of smoking. Philip Morris argues that this limits the space for branding and thus infringes on its intellectual property rights.
Latin America faces 61% of ongoing mining cases at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes
In the context of high global prices for natural resources, particularly gold and oil, Latin American governments seeking to increase the benefits of those resources for their own people are finding themselves increasingly targeted by investor lawsuits.
With Avatar poised to win big at the Oscars, James Cameron should help some Na’vi right here on Earth
Cameron should put the money made from the blockbuster where it’s needed most: into indigenous communities struggling for the conservation of their land and livelihood.
Consortium building new Quito Airport takes Ecuador to ICSID
Corporacion Quiport S.A., the company building the new Quito international airport, has initiated arbitration proceedings at ICSID against the Republic of Ecuador in connection with its concession to maintain and operate the existing Quito airport and to construct and operate the New Quito International Airport (NQIA) being built outside Ecuador’s capital.
Chevron hit with motion for preliminary injunction in Federal Court to stop arbitration
In a blistering attack against Chevron, lawyers for the government of Ecuador accused the oil giant of "triple forum shopping" and reneging on legally-enforceable promises in a motion asking a federal judge to shut down an international arbitration that Chevron is using to try to escape a potential $27 billion environmental liability.
Ecuador: Oxy’s demands for compensation unfounded
The Ecuadorian government said Occidental Petroleum deserves no compensation for the cancellation of its massive oil concession in the Amazon region, arguing that the decision was taken after the U.S. company broke the law and its contractual obligations by handing over a stake in that project to a Canadian firm.
Chevron files motion to hold government of Ecuador accountable under international law
Chevron has submitted a legal motion and supporting authorities to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed by the government of Ecuador in an attempt to block a Chevron arbitration claim made under international treaty la
Ecuadorians want Chevron held to account
Now, Texaco is asking a panel of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, which works in cooperation with the World Trade Organization, to release it from environmental liability, the communities say.