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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.


Chinese company claims US$55m from Ghana for cancellation of traffic management contract
A Chinese-based construction company, Beijing Everyway Traffic and Lighting Tech Co Ltd is claiming USD55 million from Ghana for cancelling a contract it awarded it to develop an intelligent traffic management system for the country.
Shell files arbitration claim against Nigeria over spill dispute
ROYAL Dutch Shell Plc launched arbitration proceedings against the Nigerian government over a long-running community dispute.
EU readies reforms to energy treaty as climate criticisms mount
Some governments have said the bloc should consider quitting the agreement because the treaty could threaten climate goals.
Record year for arbitration cases registered with ICSID
According to ICSID, there were 58 new cases registered with it last year, up from the previous record high of 56 in 2018 and the 39 recorded in 2019.
What do trade deals mean for FDI?
Categorical claims about the impact of trade deals on FDI are not supported by the evidence, which paints a nuanced and sometimes contradictory picture.
SK Innovation considers arbitration proceedings against Peruvian government
SK Innovation is considering initiating international arbitration proceedings against the Peruvian government for blocking the company’s exit from Camisea Gas Project in Peru.
Boholiubov, Kolomoisky intend to file $23 mln suit against the United States with ICSID for forfeiture actions targeting their assets – media
US Optima Ventures intend to file a lawsuit against the United States seeking compensation of $23 million in response to two civil forfeiture actions targeting their assets in Louisville.
Google could use ISDS to sue Australia for millions over regulation for payment of news content
Google’s Singapore subsidiary could use a controversial ISDS provision in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to demand millions in compensation over proposed Australian regulation for payment of news content.
Q&A: Int’l arbitration expert on Alberta’s threat of ’slam-dunk’ case v. USA over Keystone veto
Alberta’s Premier said that the Canadian province, which has an equity in the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline, may seek compensation under investor-protection provisions still in effect under NAFTA
PTI govt has not signed or ratified any BIT as yet
Sources said that the government will have its own template for a BIT, which will replace the existing treaties with different countries.
How Google could sue Australia for billions
Google and Facebook could sue the government for billions of dollars over a proposed law to force the digital giants to pay publishers for displaying news content, by seizing on investment clauses in the Australia-Singapore trade agreement.
France puts EU withdrawal from Energy Charter Treaty on the table
The European Union and its member states should draw the consequences of the current stalemate in multilateral talks aimed at reforming the Energy Charter Treaty and consider a coordinated withdrawal, Paris has said
German energy giant RWE uses the Energy Charter Treaty to attack Dutch climate action
RWE has filed an arbitration claim against the Netherlands, seeking compensation for the Dutch decision to phase-out electricity production from coal by 2030.
Banks agree to end action against Croatia in loan conversion dispute
Six banks have agreed not to take legal action against Croatia over its conversion of Swiss franc loans into euros in 2015 at the lenders’ expense.
The EU and Canada adopt rules putting in place the CETA investment court
The EU and Canada adopted four decisions putting in place the Investment Court System provisions agreed in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
India may offer Cairn oilfield against $1.4 billion arbitration award
For a government struggling to find revenue to boost a COVID-19 battered economy, options of appeal against the arbitration award are limited and it may not have the financial bandwidth for such a payout.
Table of foreign investor-state cases and claims under NAFTA and other US “trade deals”
ISDS tribunals have ordered governments to pay corporations more than $989 million in compensation after ISDS attacks launched just under U.S. agreements.
The status of investor-state arbitration in Latin America in 2021
Last year saw a wave of cases against Latin American states, driven in particular, but not exclusively, by a large number of claims filed against Peru, Colombia and Mexico. This wave is likely to continue in 2021.
VI court freezes assets in $6b case
A Virgin Islands court has frozen shares in two hotels belonging to Pakistan’s national airline to enforce a $6 billion award levied through the World Bank’s ICSID.