bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

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.


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.
Hong Kong FTA would still allow foreign investors to sue our government, says AFTINET
The Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement and separate Investment Agreement signed still give special rights to foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in international tribunals
Egypt - British Petroceltic files arbitration case against EGPC
British Petroceltic announced filing an arbitration case against the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) at the World Bank Group’s ICSID.
Why NZ must get rid of ISDS now
Australia’s costs for tobacco case it won show why NZ must get rid of ISDS now.
End of Tanzania, Netherlands pact nears
The preferential protection of bilateral investments between Tanzania and the Netherlands is likely to cease next month but the protection for investments made before the date of termination continues to apply for a period of 15 years (until 1 April 2034).
Media release: Philip Morris paying only half of Australia’s costs in ISDS case is outrageous, says AFTINET
It has taken a second FOI case and another two years to reveal that Australian taxpayers were only awarded half of the costs of defending Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws against tobacco giant Philip Morris in March 2017.
ICSID arbitration Churchill v Republic of Indonesia: Annulment proceedings dismissed
The annulment committee has dismissed Churchill’s application for annulment of the award for the dispute arising out of the revocation of the mining licenses that made up the East Kutai Coal Project in East Kalimantan.
Venezuela’s Guaido to appeal $8.75 billion ConocoPhillips award
Venezuela’s opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido plans to appeal a $8.75 billion award issued to ConocoPhillips by the World Bank’s arbitration tribunal last week.
Investment protection proposals under RCEP threaten India’s pharma industry
Free trade agreements like the RCEP will infringe on India’s intellectual property laws. India must stand its ground in the interest of public health.
NextEra Energy wins dispute against Spain
The ICSID ruled against Spain in a case brought by NextEra Energy Inc regarding the US utility’s lost investments in two 49.9-MW concentrated solar power plants.
Lydian International submits notices to the Government of Armenia under bilateral investment protection treaties
The company said illegal blockades have prevented access to the Amulsar gold project since late June 2018.
Venezuela must pay Conoco over $8 billion: World Bank
Venezuela must pay ConocoPhillips more than $8 billion to compensate for the 2007 expropriation of oil assets by the country’s late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, the World Bank ruled.