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.


Govt, Barrick Gold settlement agreement ’legal’ in Reko Diq project: SC
The Supreme Court declared that the settlement agreement between Canadian mining company Barrick Gold and the government of Pakistan in the Reko Diq mining project is legal.
Proposed BIT with Hungary: Differences emerge between BoI, ministries over proposal
There are two sticking points in the negotiations of the Pakistan-Hungary BIT: one is “Expropriation” and the other is “Subrogation”.
Air Tanzania plane seized in the Netherlands
Air Tanzania Company Limited plane has been seized in the Netherlands after a Swedish firm won a $165 million award against Tanzania due to revoked land title in the Bagamoyo sugar project.
A mining lawsuit in Guatemala shows how trade courts put big corporations first
Local resisters are calling for a different economic model — one that prioritizes clean water and soil, healthy communities, peace, dignity, and self-determination.
Arctic miner GreenX to pocket £740m in damages from Polish government
Arctic miner GreenX to pocket £740m in damages from Polish government.
The 33rd meeting of the Energy Charter conference held under the chairmanship of Mongolia
The conference expects to meet ad hoc in April 2023 to finalise the discussion on the adoption of the amendments to the ECT.
European Parliament resolution ‘final nail in the coffin’ for Energy Charter Treaty
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to initiate the process toward a coordinated exit of the EU from the Energy Charter Treaty.
Vienna-backed Austrian firm wields controversial energy treaty against Kyiv
AMIC Energy, an Austrian private equity firm, is threatening to sue Ukraine based on the Energy Charter Treaty after its assets were seized by Kyiv over the company’s close ties to Russia.
Brussels calls for pause in ECT reform talks after losing key EU vote
The European Commission will ask to remove the modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty from the agenda of an ECT summit on Tuesday 22 November after EU countries failed to reach a majority in favour of reforming the charter.
Berkeley Energia sends notification of dispute to Spain over uranium plant application
Berkeley Energia Ltd. sent a written notification of an investment dispute to the Spanish government following the rejection of its application to construct a uranium-concentrate plant as a radioactive facility at its Salamanca project in November 2021
Slovenia withdraws from Energy Charter Treaty
Slovenia is no longer a party to the Energy Charter Treaty after the Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed the government’s proposal to withdraw.
Business warns investors could be spooked over trade agreement changes
“ISDS clauses pose a direct threat to Australia’s sovereignty and the ability of the Australian government to make laws in the national interest. They have no place in any agreement which claims to have the interests of working people at heart,” the Australian Council of Trade Unions said.
Revealed: secret courts that allow energy firms to sue for billions accused of ‘bias’ as governments exit
Secret court set up under energy charter treaty accused of conflicts of interest, self-regulation issues and institutional bias.
Statement on ISDS and climate
Civil society organisations are calling on governments to remove the threat that ISDS poses to the climate. The following statement outlines our primary concerns and demands. We seek to put pressure on our governments as they meet at COP 27 in November 2022.
Aussie companies to lose right to sue under free trade pacts
In a big win for unions and “fair trade” campaigners, Australian Trade Minister will announce government’s vow to strip future free trade agreements of investor-state dispute settlement clauses and water them down in existing deals.
Activists rejoice as Berlin announces exit from controversial energy treaty
The German government has announced its intention to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, following similar decisions in other large EU countries, which left activists jubilant.
UNCTAD publishes report on international climate change investment trends and policy developments
The report suggests that progress on IIA reform is critical to enable countries to address the challenges of climate change.
Huge lawsuits loom over gas market intervention
Massive compensation claims loom over the Australian government’s gas market intervention, with lawyers warning price caps and windfall profit taxes could lead to legal action under trade agreements.
Notice of intent to submit claims to arbitration pursuant to article 10.16 of the CAFTA-DR
In accordance with the Dominican Republic–Central America–United States Free Trade Agreement, Honduras Próspera Inc. and its affiliates submit to the Republic of Honduras this written notice of their intention to submit claims to arbitration.
Brussels pleads with countries to stay in the Energy Charter Treaty
EU countries are voting with their feet, quitting the investor protection pact despite the EU’s efforts to reform it – but the European Commission warns it will be worse to be outside than in.