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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.


Rosia Montana: Seeds of utopia in town almost lost to gold mining
In 2015, Gabriel Resources sued Romania before of the ICSID, asking for a reported four billion dollars in damages, after protests halted plans for Europe’s largest gold mine.
How trade agreements stand in the way of an international green new deal
To reduce emissions abroad, the US must renegotiate its trade agreements.
US company’s attempt to sue Australian government collapses
Florida-based APR Energy sought compensation for treatment of its gas turbines.
Rental power: Government in talks for out-of-court settlement
Pakistan government is reportedly in talks with the Turkish government and M/s Karkey for an out-of-court settlement to avert attachment of Pakistan’s properties in Europe
Aborted for-profit hospital
The Jeju provincial government has revoked the business license of a Chinese-owned for-profit hospital. The Chinese group may file a suit against the Korean government, using the investor-state dispute settlement system.
Venezuela’s Guaido to seek to annul $8.7 bln Conoco award
Guaido’s special prosecutor said has challenged the amount of the ICSID award, claiming “the methodology to determine the compensation was errant.”
Pakistan may not have to pay $1b Karkey penalty
The key suspect in the rental power plants case – Laeeq Ahmed Sheikh, who is in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody, has revealed some astonishing facts.
Government concealed failure to cancel the old, worse version of ISDS in new Indonesia trade deal
Detailed scrutiny of the text of the recent Indonesia trade deal has revealed that there are no provisions to cancel the old 1993 Indonesia-Australia bilateral investment agreement.
We the people reject ISDS. So why are our governments trying to expand it?
A permanent Multilateral Investment Court pushed by the European Union could make ISDS worse by scaling it up.
Corbella: Notley’s ’beating down’ of the oil patch should cost her the election
The Czech-based company Petrolama Namur Oil Sands Exploration filed a notice of dispute against Canada on March 29 over the delay in completing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
As the world meets to discuss ISDS, many fear meaningless reforms
ISDS lawyers appear to hold administrative positions within the working group and are represented in large numbers in the advisory bodies that have been established for the working group.
Sharpening clash as UN body reviews investor rights to sue governments (ISDS)
Advocates of ISDS (industrialised countries and lawyers from the ‘arbitration industry’) dominate the running of the Working Group and its advisory bodies. Civil society is underrepresented.
The case of Chevron in the Ecuadorian Amazon: the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada closes the doors to end impunity
The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples´ Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and End Impunity regrets the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the case of Chevron in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Trump’s damaged NAFTA deal
USMCA bears many resemblances to NAFTA, which has been cited as a driver of low-wage corporate outsourcing.
Kingsgate prepares for legal challenge to mine closure
The Australian mining company Kingsgate Consolidated, armed with a US$55-million insurance payout for the closure of its gold mine in Thailand, says it now has the financial means to pursue its arbitration case against the Thai government.
Indonesia wins $469 mn arbitration case against Indian metal firm IMFA
Indonesia has won a $469 million arbitration case against India’s Metal Ferro and Alloys Ltd (IMFA) after nearly four years of court battles
Australia - Hong Kong investment agreement
As released by the Australian Government
US Odyssey Marine will sue Mexico; accuses blockade to submarine mining
The US company notified its intention to claim compensation of 3,540 million dollars from the Mexican government.
Chevron vs Ecuador: international arbitration and corporate impunity
The infamous story of the environmental pollution of the Ecuadorian Amazon by Chevron-Texaco – which has come to be known as the "Ecuadorian Chernobyl" - is entering a new phase.
Vancouver mining company Eco Oro sues Colombia over protection of Santurbán wetland
While Eco Oro claims to have invested US$250 million in the project, it is seeking US$764 million as compensation for the cancellation of the project.