UNCITRAL Working Group III decides that multilateral reform of ISDS desirable; governments to submit proposals to develop work plan for reform

UNCITRAL Working Group III continued discussions on possible reform of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) at its 36th session, held October 28–November 2, 2018 in Vienna. The working group has a broad mandate in three phases: (1) identify concerns regarding ISDS, (2) consider whether reform is desirable and, if so, (3) develop recommendations.

The Vienna session centred on the second phase of this mandate—desirability of multilateral reform. The working group considered three areas of concern: (1) consistency, coherence, predictability and correctness of arbitral decisions by ISDS tribunals, (2) arbitrators and decision-makers, and (3) cost and duration of ISDS cases. As indicated in the draft report of the meeting, the working group concluded that multilateral reforms are desirable to address various concerns under these three areas.

The 37th session is scheduled for April 1–5, 2019 in New York, when the working group will consider concerns related to third-party funding, as well as other concerns not already covered by the three broad categories of desirable reforms already identified. Importantly, it will also develop a work plan to develop reform recommendations. In preparation for the April 2019 session, governments are encouraged to consult and submit written proposals for the development of the work plan.

An inter-sessional regional meeting of the working group is also scheduled to take place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, February 13–14, 2019. More information and official documents of UNCITRAL Working Group III are available on the working group website.