The upcoming meeting of Working Group III of UNCITRAL in January 2020 will be a valuable opportunity to intensify the push for real reform of ISDS. This ITN Insight provides an update from the October 2019 discussions in Vienna, where countries set out a workplan for their upcoming talks on reform solutions, outlining when to discuss which options. The authors review lessons learned to date and look ahead to the topics slated for discussion in January 2020: a stand-alone review or appellate mechanism; a standing MIC; and the selection and appointment of arbitrators and adjudicators. Taking a deep dive into each, they highlight key issues for negotiators to consider.
Multilateral investment court
A set of documents purporting to capture the discussions of the United States–United Kingdom Trade and Investment Working Group from 2018 has recently been released into the public domain.
From October 14 to 18, 2019, negotiators will gather in Vienna for the next session of the UNCITRAL Working Group III on ISDS reform, where they will move from considering concerns with the current system to assessing possible solutions. In this ITN Insight, Jane Kelsey discusses various examples of how some countries have tested out alternatives to ISDS, such as state–state arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, domestic legislation and enforcement, and the exhaustion of domestic remedies. For each ISDS alternative, she examines what benefits and challenges arose, and how the lessons learned can help inform the next phase of UNCITRAL deliberations.
Spain has faced approximately 40 arbitrations since it made the decision in 2010 to rescind or revise various regulatory measures aimed at drawing in greater investments into renewable energy projects. This article examines the awards issued in four of those cases, looking in particular at how the tribunals interpreted and applied the FET standard. The author looks at the potential problems that can emerge when states are unsure of how any given tribunal may interpret FET or other key standards and presents some potential solutions.
Delegates involved in the UNCITRAL Working Group III process on multilateral ISDS reform have until July 15, 2019 to submit to the UNCITRAL Secretariat their reform proposals and the timing for when such items may be considered in an overarching project schedule. That schedule would help guide the working group under Phase 3 of its mandate, which is devoted to crafting solutions to ISDS-related concerns.
The CJEU has deemed that the ICS included in the Canada–EU CETA is consistent with EU law, issuing its final opinion on April 30, 2019.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has weighed in on the European Commission’s recommendation for a European Council decision to launch negotiations on the proposed MIC, supporting discussions on ISDS reform while noting areas for improvement.
Delegates had a new round of deliberations for multilateral reform of ISDS at UNCITRAL from April 1 to 5. The meeting of Working Group III, which is tasked with this process, was held in New York.
Multilateral ISDS Reform Is Desirable: What happened at the UNCITRAL meeting in Vienna and how to prepare for April 2019 in New York
UNCITRAL Working Group III has decided that multilateral reform is desirable to address various concerns regarding ISDS. Its next session will identify other concerns that may have been missed and prepare a work plan to develop solutions. This article reviews the UNCITRAL process so far and helps governments prepare for the upcoming session.
In May 2018, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its new draft model bilateral investment treaty (BIT), in hopes to foster rethinking of existing and future Dutch BITs. Will this revised model achieve this goal, or does it fall short of the promised policy reset?
It will take time for dialogues on ISDS reform to produce results. In the interim, rather than continue to assume the unjustified risks associated with the flawed ISDS system, states could consider two near-term options. This piece looks at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Council of the European Union adopts negotiating directives: EU Commission to negotiate a convention establishing a multilateral investment court
On March 20, 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted negotiating directives authorizing the European Commission to negotiate a convention establishing a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes.
UNCTAD’s 2017 High-level IIA Conference: Moving Forward on Addressing Older-Generation International Investment Agreements
Over 300 experts gathered in Geneva to take stock of the sustainable development-oriented reform of the investment treaty regime and discuss policy options for modernizing the existing stock of older-generation treaties. Participants recognized that multilateral collaboration would be key to addressing the complex IIA regime.
Beyond advancing its Investment Court System (ICS) proposal in bilateral negotiations, the European Union continues its efforts toward establishing a multilateral investment court (MIC).
On December 13 and 14, 2016, the European Commission and the Canadian Government co-hosted exploratory discussions on establishing a multilateral investment court. Government representatives from several countries attended the closed-door meeting in Geneva. Upon concluding CETA, the two hosts had vowed to “work expeditiously” to create a permanent investment court, building on the ICS mechanism included in the agreement. The goal of […]
As part of the World Investment Forum (WIF) 2016, negotiators of international investment agreements (IIAs) and various stakeholders convened at the High-Level IIA Conference on July 19, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. Some 50 country delegates, parliamentarians, officials of international organizations and civil society representatives discussed the first phase of IIA reform and how to move […]
CETA signed; Canada and European Union to “work expeditiously” on creating a Multilateral Investment Court
On October 30, during the 16th European Union–Canada Summit held in Brussels, the two negotiating partners signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), after seven years of negotiations.
Responding to EU requests, Canadian and EU officials reopened negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) concluded in 2014 to reformulate the agreement’s investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause. Re-concluded on February 29, the CETA now includes a standing tribunal and an appeals mechanism, in line with the EU ICS proposal, also included in the […]
On September 16, 2015, the European Commission published its proposal on Investment Protection and Resolution of Investment Disputes and Investment Court System.
At a March 18, 2015 meeting at the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström presented four “preliminary ideas” to address public concerns about investment in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in negotiation between the European Union and the United States. To prevent conflicts of interest resulting from the dual […]