East Anglia Daily Times | 26 October 2015
Lawyer claims part of new trade deal ‘creates an alternative court system’
Opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are calling for the NHS to be exempted from the deal over claims that services could be sold to US private healthcare firms.
Now an environmental legal firm claims that a mechanism for solving disputes in the planned agreement is illegal under EU law.
ClientEarth said the planned Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) undermined EU and national courts.
Lawyer Laurens Ankersmit said: “Investor State Dispute Settlement is a discriminatory legal tool.
“It creates an alternative court system allowing foreign investors to sue governments and the EU over any government action affecting their investments.
“In doing so it sidelines the EU courts and gifts businesses with a quick route to legal damages that could run to billions of euros.
“National judges, who work with EU judges to decide on matters of EU law, will also see their power undermined by ISDS.
“At the same time, the mechanism discriminates against European citizens and businesses as only foreign investors can use it in Europe.”
Meanwhile, the Unite union stepped up its campaign to have the NHS exempted from TTIP.
The union said Prime Minister David Cameron was the only leading politician in the UK not to sign a pledge to protect the NHS from the trade deal.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “David Cameron needs to add action to warm words. The leaders of the main political parties across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have signed the historic pledge to protect the NHS from the EU/US trade deal.
“Expert legal advice confirms that there are clear dangers arising from TTIP that could impact the NHS unless political leaders are ready to use the veto to deliver a robust carve-out.
“The NHS unites us all. The people of this country do not believe it is right for the NHS to be part of this trade deal.”