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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.


Schindler sues Korean gov’t over Hyundai Elevator
Swiss elevator maker, Schindler Group, has officially filed for an investor state dispute settlement against the Korean government seeking US$300 million in compensation for losses over its approval of paid-in capital increase of Hyundai Elevator
Crossbenchers plot to embarrass Labor over Trans-Pacific Partnership
Crossbenchers are ramping up pressure on Labor at the 11th hour to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, drafting amendments that would force opposition senators to vote against the party’s policy.
New briefing note – agricultural investments under international investment law
The number of known investment treaty claims concerning agricultural investments has grown rapidly in recent years. This new briefing note from IIED, IISD and CCSI helps policy makers navigate the challenges.
Singapore, Indonesia ink pact to offer protection, global arbitration access to investors
Singapore and Indonesia signed an agreement to promote and protect investments, with the treaty promising Singapore companies operating in Indonesia protection and access to international arbitration in the event of investment disputes.
Tanzania ends investment treaty with Netherlands
Tanzania has terminated its Bilateral Investment Agreement with the Netherlands that East African and Dutch civil society had said was biased against the country.
Big oil and gas companies are winners in Trump’s new trade deal
The oil business persuaded the White House to keep a number of features of the old NAFTA, including provisions that help protect US oil companies’ investments abroad and allow for tax-free transport of raw and refined products across borders.
Trump’s NAFTA deal threatens our air, water, and climate
More outsourcing of pollution and jobs, handouts to corporate polluters, and climate denial
From Quito: Pablo Fajardo & Donald Moncayo
Pablo Fajardo, the lead lawyer for the communities who have been fighting for 25 years for compensation for the severe pollution in the amazon region, and Donald Moncayo, one of the coordinators of the organization that has led this campaign talk about the Chevron case.
Review Tanzania, The Netherlands investment agreement, CSO says
Tanzania is urged to review the 15 years Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the Kingdom of Netherlands expires in April 2019 before it reckons itself for another 10 years.
’New’ CETA tribunals - old undemocratic system
Our analysis of the leaked draft code of conduct of CETA tribunals reveals that the same people known as ISDS arbitrators and counsellors will now take over CETA tribunals.
Costa Rica wins case against investors’ beach front property
ICSID tribunal rules Costa Rica was in its right to stop a tourist construction project on the Pacific coast that violated environmental laws.
Rethinking international investment governance: Principles for the 21st century
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment is hosting a two-day conference on rethinking international investment governance, which seeks to elaborate principles for a progressive investment agenda.
Tanzania cites bias as it changes laws governing arbitration
Tanzania has moved to ensure that investor disputes are resolved locally after Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi pushed through parliament the Public Private Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
More than 300 Republican and Democratic state legislators from all 50 states urge end of investor-state dispute settlement system in NAFTA
In letter to US Trade Representative, lawmakers say ISDS undermines state sovereignty and lawmaking.
Ecuador: Chevron’s victims vow to fight Hague court ruling
Victims of Chevron-Texaco’s pollution of the Ecuadorean Amazon have vowed to fight to protect the ruling which has granted them compensation.
ISDS reforms shove human rights under corporate red carpet
“We call on our governments to either address the real reasons why ISDS is fundamentally flawed or to abandon its ‘reform’ agenda that is designed to reinforce and re-legitimise a self-serving investment dispute system.”
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rules against Ecuador, favors Chevron
Ecuador will be forced to pay economic reparations to the oil giant. The over 30,000 affected people in the Amazon haven’t received any compensation.
RCEP countries open to easing investment rules, agree to ease ISDS clauses
In a bid to fast-track the deal, most nations have agreed to ease the investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses.
Letter of solidarity with the victims of Chevron
The signatories of this letter wish to express their rejection of this decision and their support for the people of Ecuador and the organizations that have defended the communities affected by Chevron Texaco.
US arbitration court can rule on Vattenfall’s German nuclear claim
A US arbitration court has rejected a German government petition that said the panel had no right to rule on a damages claim by Sweden’s Vattenfall. Berlin cited a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union.