During the week of November 27–December 1, 2017, Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) held its first meeting on possible reform of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS). The 34th session of the working group was attended by over 300 participants representing governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society.
At the meeting, the working group—which received a mandate to work on this topic in July 2017—agreed to consider the three stages of the mandate in sequence: to identify concerns regarding ISDS, to consider whether reform was desirable and, if deemed desirable, to develop solutions to be recommended to the UNCITRAL Commission. It also agreed “to undertake a thorough analysis of all relevant issues, with the objective of identifying the core concerns that might justify reform.”
The working group already began discussions on procedural aspects of ISDS, including duration and cost of proceedings, allocation of costs, security for costs, third-party funding, transparency, early dismissal mechanisms and counterclaims by states. It also exchanged views on the overall consistency and coherence of the ISDS regime and its outcomes.
More information is available in the UNCITRAL press release and on the working group website. Audio recordings of the proceedings of the 34th session are also available. The 35th session of UNCITRAL Working Group III is scheduled for April 23–27, 2018, in New York, United States.