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Civil society

UN special procedures mandate holders’ letter to UNCITRAL WG III on ISDS reform

By UN Human Rights experts (2019)

“We wish to express our overarching concerns that international investment agreements and their ISDS mechanism have often proved to be incompatible with international human rights law and the rule of law.”

Keynote address by George Kahale, III

By George Kahale III, Chairman, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP (2018)

“Combined with the ISDS mechanism of international arbitration, investment treaties have been transformed into weapons of legal destruction.”

ISDS: The wild, wild west of international law and arbitration

By George Kahale III, Chairman, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP (2018)

“It’s better to recognize that the ISDS system was poorly designed and has been malfunctioning for 30 years, and that dismantling it and starting from scratch is the wiser course.”

Opinion on the establishment of an investment tribunal in TTIP - the proposal from the European Commission on 16.09.2015 and 11.12.2015

By Deutsche Richterbund (German Magistrates Association) (2016)

“The German Magistrates Association sees no need for the establishment of a special court for investors. The Member States are all constitutional states, which provide and guarantee access to justice in all areas where the state has jurisdiction to all law-seeking parties. It is for the Member States to ensure access to justice for all and to ensure feasible access for foreign investors, by providing the courts with the relevant resources. Hence, the establishment of an ICS [Investment Court System] is the wrong way to guarantee legal certainty.”

“An ICS would not only limit the legislative powers of the Union and the Member States; it would also alter the established court system within the Member States and the European Union. In the opinion of the German Magistrates Association, there is no legal basis for such a change by the Union.”

Lawyers oppose the inclusion of ISDS provisions

By 119 lawyers (2015)

“This practice threatens domestic sovereignty and weakens the rule of law by giving corporations special legal rights, allowing them to ignore domestic courts, and subjecting the United States to extrajudicial private arbitration. Corporations are able to re-litigate cases they have already lost in domestic courts. Further, they are able to do so in a private system lacking procedural protections.”

Faith groups declare TPP investment chapter unjust and puts profit ahead of people

By Catholics for the Alliance of the Common Good, Catholic Democrats, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, NETWORK, Presbyterian Church USA (2015)

“Corporations have used the ISDS provisions in trade agreements to undermine a nation’s – or a community’s – ability to protect against environmental degradation of natural resources and worker safety.”

ISDS or ICS: foreign investors still triumph over public interest

By UNI Europa (2015)

“The European Commission’s revised proposal for an ICS includes some modest improvements but it does not change the fundamentals of a system where only investors can bring law suits against states – that means investor’s private interests are ultimately privileged over public policy considerations.”

Leaked EU "Sustainable Development" proposal fails to protect environment from threats of TTIP

By Friends of the Earth, Power Shift, Sierra Club (2015)

“Nothing in the text would prevent foreign corporations, on either side of the Atlantic, from challenging climate or other environmental policies via an “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) mechanism or via the European Commission’s proposed “Investment Court System.” Both enable foreign investors to challenge environmental policies before a tribunal that would sit outside any domestic legal system and be able to order governments to compensate companies for the alleged costs of an environmental policy.”

UN expert calls for abolition of Investor-State dispute settlement arbitrations

By Alfred de Zayas, United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (2015)

“Over the past twenty-five years bilateral international treaties and free trade agreements with investor-state-dispute-settlement have adversely impacted the international order and undermined fundamental principles of the UN, State sovereignty, democracy and the rule of law. It prompts moral vertigo in the unbiased observer. Far from contributing to human rights and development, ISDS has compromised the State’s regulatory functions and resulted in growing inequality among States and within them.”

End corporate courts now!

By AFL-CIO (2014)

“Systems of justice should be public, democratic and available to all in a society on an equal basis. ISDS simply does not meet this standard. Foreign investors can use these “corporate courts” to challenge anything that affects their bottom line—from requirements that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging to increases in the minimum wage. This seriously constrains governments’ ability to respond to public needs and set priorities that advance the public welfare.”