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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.


Concern grows over ‘corporate courts’ being set up after Brexit
Parliament’s trade committee says it is alarmed by government’s failure ‘to set out even basic lines of policy’ on how international arbitration will work after Brexit.
10th ISDS case against South Korea
Reportedly, Berjaya, Malaysian investor initiated ISDS dispute against South Korea.
Trade Minister of South Korea should not undermine the ISDS reform objectives pursued by the Prime Minister
CSOs call for Trade Minister of South Korea should not undermine the ISDS reform objectives pursued by the Prime Minister
Is NZ about to accept investment disputes in RCEP?
There is a high risk that New Zealand would still allow the investor to sue New Zealand in this expensive and discredited system of international investment arbitration
ReqoDiq Case II: Defending the Supreme Court
It is astounding that the Supreme Court judgment is being criticised due to an unfair award by the ICSID tribunal against Pakistan when that judgment is completely defensible.
Nord Stream 2 takes unusual legal step against the Commission
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline company has asked the Court of Justice of the EU to annul the amendments to the Gas Directive but Nord Stream 2 reserves itself this option of resorting to legal arbitration as well.
Reko Diq Case I: an indictment against ICSID
Pakistan has suffered at the hands of an unaccountable and defective dispute resolution mechanism at the hands of the ICSID, and following the examples of India, South Africa and Brazil, should never have become a part of the ICSID.
UN warned corporate courts could thwart climate efforts
Campaigners are urging reform of an obscure system that allows coal, oil and gas companies to sue governments if climate policies hit their profits.
World Bank ruling against Pakistan shows global economic governance is broken
Abolishing ISDS won’t solve all of the problems of global economic governance. But it seems a very good place to start.
Pakistan and World Bank Settlement of Investment Disputes – Do not pay the unfair fine; oppose the unjust decision of ICSID
This is a story of the dodgy deal by a multi national company and then earning massive amount of money through a World Bank institution acting against developing countries.
South Korean Prime Minister considers abolishing ISDS
Media reports from South Korea have suggested that South Korean Prime Minister Mr. Lee Nak-Yeon is considering abolishing ISDS from Korean Trade agreements.
Australian miner sues Egyptian government over collapse of billion-dollar deal
Australian company planned was to mine tantulum, but seventeen years later, the company is suing the Egyptian government for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars after the military regime blocked plans.
ICSID penalty
In the Reko Diq case registered by Tethyan Copper Company, the dollar-starved Pakistan has been slapped a penalty way beyond its reach by the World Bank-sponsored ICSID.
Nord Stream 2, EU drifting towards legal arbitration
The European Commission and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline company are heading toward legal arbitration in their dispute, with a risk of huge fines for EU taxpayers.
Ascent Resources starts legal action over Petišovci gas field
Ascent Resources plans to lodge an investment treaty arbitration claim under the Energy Charter Treaty.
Government decides to challenge award
The Pakistan government has decided to challenge the award ICSID award that includes $4.08 billion penalty and $1.87 billion interest.
Pakistan fined Rs950 bn in Reko Diq case
The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of World Bank has rendered almost $6 billion (Rs950 billion) award against Pakistan in Reko Diq case.
The free trade myth
ISDSs, legal mechanisms designed to favour corporate interests will be integral to any post-Brexit US-UK trade deal.
Corporations have ’hijacked justice’
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade deal would undermine environmental protections in Asia.
Italian construction company in legal dispute with Morocco’s AABV
The Italian company claims that Morocco has breached the 1990 Italy-Morocco bilateral investment treaty provisions.