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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.


Elliott starts ISD suit against Korea, claiming $770m in damage
US-based hedge fund Elliott Associates has officially filed for an investor-state dispute settlement against the South Korean government seeking $770 million in compensation for the merger between two Samsung Group affiliates.
Turkish government taken to international tribunal
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime accused of illegally seizing company assets and breaching investment treaties involving Britain and other EU states.
Signature of economic and strategic partnership agreements expected at 25th EU-Japan summit
At their 25th bilateral summit, in Brussels on 11 July 2018, the EU and Japan will sign their strategic partnership agreement.
US fund claims $175 million from South Korea over Samsung units’ 2015 merger
New York-based hedge fund Mason Capital Management has filed a legal claim seeking at least $175 million from the South Korean government as compensation for damages it says it sustained from a 2015 merger of two Samsung Group affiliates.
Enagás demands an arbitration against Peru before ICSID
Enagás has requested a proceeding before the ICSID against the Peruvian state after negotiating for six months without success to reach a friendly agreement in relation to the company’s investment in the Peruvian South Gas Management Project.
Revealed: $39m cost of defending Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws
Two years after an FOI claim was lodged, the price of the six-year fight with Philip Morris has been revealed
Malaysia should review bilateral investment treaties for unfair bias towards investors
Malaysia should review bilateral investment treaties to see if it is fair to remain in these trade agreements as some contain clauses that are seen to be biased to investors, said Third World Network adviser Martin Khor.
Should Canada reject NAFTA? Yes
NAFTA is a corporate rights agreement, not a free-trade agreement in the original sense.
NGO’s send letter to Minister Kaag to call for termination of BIT with Burkina Faso
Both ENDS sent a letter, signed by various civil society organisations, to the Dutch Minister of Aid & Trade to urge her to terminate the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) that exists between the Netherlands and Burkina Faso.
It’s time to stop giving more rights to global corporations
Despite this growing rejection of ISDS, the Australian government claims that ambiguous general “safeguards” in the TPP-11 will protect public interest laws.
One Treaty to rule them all
The ever-expanding Energy Charter Treaty and the power it gives corporations to halt the energy transition.
Donald Trump was right. The rest of the G7 were wrong
In arguing for a sunset clause to the Nafta trade agreement, this odious man is exposing the corruption of liberal democracy.
CPTPP jeopardises the future of open source software: OSIA
Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA) is calling upon the federal government to scrap the CPTPP over provisions that could decimate the Australian open source community.
Korea suffers first defeat in ISD case
The Korean government was ordered to pay about 73 billion won to an Iranian investor who filed an investor-state lawsuit, claiming that he suffered losses in the process of participating in an auction for Daewoo Electronics in 2010.
Korean govt, Elliott begin pretrial negotiations on June 14
The South Korean government and Elliott Management next week will enter negotiation for an out-of-court settlement over the U.S. activist fund’s $670 million damage claim for the former administration’s interference in the 2015 merger between Samsung units.
Veolia loses ISDS case against Egypt – after six years and millions in costs
Veolia has finally lost its claim against Egypt over a waste management contract dispute in which they claimed compensation for an increase in the minimum wage under a new labour law.
Did Canada buy an oil pipeline in fear of being sued by China?
The logic to Trudeau’s action may lie in an obscure and overlooked 2014 agreement to ensure China got a pipeline built
The chilling effect: investor-state dispute settlement, graphic health warnings, the plain packaging of tobacco products, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) poses significant challenges in respect of tobacco control, public health, human rights, and sustainable development.
TDM call for papers: Cybersecurity in international arbitration (special issue)
There is a manifest need for the international arbitration community to begin to develop a shared understanding of the scope of the threat and the appropriate response.