The Methanex case was an investment dispute between Canada-based Methanex Corporation and the United States, based on the provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement's (NAFTA) Chapter 11 on investment. The issues it raised on the interaction between investor protection and environmental protection were so acute that IISD sought and received precedent-setting permission to submit a friend of the court (amicus curiae) brief in the case.
The Final Decision in Methanex v. United States: Some New Wine in Some New Bottles (PDF - 192 KB)
On August 3, 2005, the Panel in the NAFTA Chapter 11 case Methanex v. The United States issued its long-awaited ruling, rejecting all of the company's arguments. High points of the Award include: a crystal-clear statement that non-discriminatory regulations in the public interest (such as environmental laws) will almost never be considered expropriation; some welcome reasoning on national treatment; and precedent-setting explicit reliance on arguments from IISD's amicus brief. Howard Mann, lead author of the IISD brief, offers commentary here. Full text of the award is available here. (PDF - 1.4 MB)
A brief background on the case itself, and a chronology of events in the precedent-setting multi-year arbitration. Includes links to all the relevant legal documents.
IISD's amicus brief
IISD's friend of the court (amicus curiae) brief in the case raises important points of law ignored by the parties, but critical to sustainable development. This was the first time an amicus brief had ever been accepted in an investor arbitration case.
Earthjustice's amicus brief (PDF - 67 KB)
The brief of the other NGO granted amicus status in the Methanex case.
Post-Hearing Submission (PDF - 27 KB)
The US, in its oral arguments, declined to defend California's MTBE ban as an environmental measure, but rather defined it as only a public health measure. This (unaccepted) post-hearing submission from both amici curiae argues not only that the US was wrong, but moreover that it dodged a chance to clarify an important legal point.