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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.


Building a mirage: The effectiveness of tax carve-out provisions in international investment agreements
The broad language in investment agreements has allowed investor-state dispute settlement tribunals to scrutinize tax measures adopted by States, and determine that such measures resulted in a breach of State’s obligations under the agreement.
It’s more than a free trade agreement. But what exactly have Australia and Indonesia signed?
Indonesia – Australia CEPA signed without prior released text to assess its costs and benefits.
Korea`s first for-profit hospital in Jeju faces license revocation
The Korea government may face another investor-state dispute case from the Chinese capital if the license is called off.
Shell put Nigeria under pressure with ISDS process to obtain oil field OPL 245
Shell used the investment agreement between the Netherlands and Nigeria to obtain a lucrative oil field at remarkably good conditions.
French firm Suez explores selling off debt claim against Argentina
French waste and water group Suez SA has contacted "specialised funds" about possibly selling its debt claims to Argentina, the group announced.
Chevron Vs Ecuador: international arbitration & impunity (ISDS case)
In February of 2011 the Ecuadorian Courts delivered an historic verdict, sentencing the Big Oil Corporation Chevron to pay US$9,500 million dollars for its contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon (1964-1992). However, Chevron hit back via the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system and sued Ecuador.
Lessons from Aotearoa: The indigenous “exception” clause in free trade agreements
Exception clauses amount to little more than tokenism, and short-change our full rights to determine trade relationships on our land and oceanic territories.
Canada ordered to pay US concrete company $7M in NAFTA case
Long-running case began after New Jersey company’s bid to open a quarry in Nova Scotia rejected in 2007
Why East Africa needs new funding sources
Seatini said East African countries should find alternative ways to finance development projects rather than depend on public-private partnerships and bilateral investment treaties, which have cost the region dearly.
We cannot allow Liam Fox’s post-Brexit trade plans to go unscrutinised
Trade deals containing clauses that threaten human rights are being debated in parliament – they must be defeated
Russel Norman – climate change and free trade
The panel on a sustainable world at the hui in October 2018 on What an Alternative and Progressive Trade Strategy for New Zealand argued for major changes to address pressing environmental issues.
Much to fear from post-Brexit trade deals with ISDS mechanisms
Investor-state dispute settlement is a threat to human rights, health and the environment, say representatives of trade unions, charities and faith groups.
Q&A: Stop corporate courts
A Q&A to deal with tricky questions about corporate courts and our campaign against them.
Investor-state dispute settlement in Tanzania
Tanzania has embarked on process of regulation of its foreign investment regime by enacting legislation, which exclude international arbitration.
The EU-Singapore investment protection agreement
An analysis of its impact on managing government bonds and capital flows.
MEPs take note: EU-Singapore deal could hinder fight against fraud and corruption.
The most worrying thing about the EU-Singapore deal is not the risk that Singapore firms themselves pose, but the fact that the agreement looks set to be used as a model for reinvigorating ISDS.
US investors demand $96m for loss of Rwanda contracts
A group of US investors have taken Rwanda to an international court, seeking compensation of $95 million after the government seized their mining concessions, effectively denying them operating licences.
Turkish RPP ship: Pakistan breathes $900mn sigh of relief
Pakistan said to have gathered fresh ‘evidence of corruption’ in the procurement of a rental power project (RPP) contract by the Turkish company.
Sued for existing – ancient Romanian town on the frontline of the battle against ISDS
Today, the 6th of February 2019, the Romanian town of Roşia Montană celebrates its 1888th year of existence. Over the past 20 years, residents have fought against a proposed multi-billion dollar mining project.
Arbitration ruling from the ICSID delivered in favor of Sodexo’s benefits and rewards activities in Hungary
Hungarian State has been ordered to pay Sodexo an award of about 73 million euro, before interest.