The April 2019 deliberations on multilateral ISDS reform at UNCITRAL Working Group III were due to tackle a series of questions that emerged in Phase 2 of the process. This piece breaks down why the scope of these discussions should be expanded to include important concerns raised by developing countries, and describes three core issues that must not be ignored. These involve the right to participation by affected parties; the rule of law and domestic courts’ jurisdiction; and the chilling of sovereign states’ authority and responsibility to govern.
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.
Tribunal finds expropriation of investment by Bolivia due to non-payment of compensation but awards only sunk costs to British investor
SOUTH AMERICAN SILVER LIMITED (BERMUDA) V. THE PLURINATIONAL STATE OF BOLIVIA, PCA CASE NO. 2013-15
UNCITRAL conferred a broad mandate on Working Group III to consider possible reform of ISDS. In Phase 1 governments identified and considered concerns about ISDS. Phase 2, where they consider whether reform is desirable in light of those concerns, is well advanced. The next meeting in New York in April 2019 is expected to conclude this phase and decide how to pursue the final phase, in which governments will develop any relevant solutions to recommend to the Commission. This note addresses three issues at the heart of the legitimacy crisis confronting the international investment regime that should inform the remainder of Phase 2.
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.
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.
On May 16, 2018, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its new draft model bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The draft model, which remained available for public comment until June 18, 2018, is intended to replace the 2004 model BIT and be used for renegotiation of the 79 existing Dutch BITs with non-EU countries and negotiation of future agreements.
Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) continued discussions on possible reform of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) at its 35th session, held April 23–27, 2018 in New York.
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.
The 35th session of Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) takes place April 23–27, 2018
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.
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).
Claims brought by a company controlled by an Egyptian billionaire against Algeria are held inadmissible
Orascom TMT Investments S.à r.l. v. People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/35
UNCITRAL tribunal dismisses allegations of Hungarian investor’s bribery and refuses to set aside contract with Croatia
The Republic of Croatia v. MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Plc, PCA Case No 2014-15
Two African developing countries respond to criticisms against the investment regime. The innovative treaty offers protection to foreign investors without compromising on the host state’s capacity to regulate in the public interest.
UNCITRAL receives mandate to work on ISDS reform; Transparency Convention to enter into force on October 18, 2017
On July 14, 2017, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) entrusted its Working Group III with a broad mandate to work on the possible reform of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS).
In theory, the common European market works based on principles that protect intra-EU cross-border investments. In practice, can these principles be reconciled with dozens of intra-EU BIT still in place?
Argentina has come back to the BIT negotiation arena after a 15-year halt, concluding a treaty with Qatar and engaging in ongoing negotiations with Japan. The new treaty includes traditional along with innovative provisions.
Eli Lilly and Company v. The Government of Canada, UNCITRAL, ICSID Case No. UNCT/14/2
ICSID tribunal dismisses claims brought against Indonesia based on forged mining licences Churchill Mining PLC and Planet Mining Pty Ltd v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/14 and ICSID Case No. ARB/12/40 Inaê Siqueira de Oliveira [*] After rendering separate decisions on jurisdiction¾one for the case brought by British company Churchill Mining PLC under the United […]
Renco Group Inc. v Republic of Peru, UNCT/13/1 An arbitral tribunal under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) declared that U.S.-based investor Renco Group Inc. (Renco) failed to comply with the waiver requirement under the United States–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA). Accordingly, the tribunal declined to exercise jurisdiction […]
Windstream Energy LLC v. Government of Canada, PCA Case No. 2013-22 An arbitral tribunal under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has reached the award stage. Although dismissing the discrimination and indirect expropriation claims, the tribunal upheld the claim of failure to provide fair and equitable treatment (FET), and ordered Canada […]
On February 1, 2016, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) released draft rules tailored to investment arbitration (Draft SIAC Rules), to be finalized in May following public consultation.
Transparency in International Investment Arbitration: A guide to the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor–State Arbitration
This in-depth commentary analyses each paragraph of the UNCITRAL Transparency Rules, and explains the underlying debate for a broader context.
Tribunal found Mongolia liable for unlawful expropriation and awarded more than US$80 million in damages
Khan Resources Inc., Khan Resources B.V. and CAUC Holding Company Ltd. v. The Government of Mongolia and MonAtom LLC, PCA Case No. 2011-09
UNCITRAL tribunal finds Canada’s environmental assessment breached international minimum standard of treatment and national treatment standard
William Ralph Clayton, William Richard Clayton, Douglas Clayton, Daniel Clayton and Bilcon of Delaware Inc. v. Government of Canada, UNCITRAL
In July 2013, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted a package of rules aiming to ensure transparency in investor-State arbitration, ratifying the work done by delegations to UNCITRAL—comprised of 55 Member States, additional observer States and observer organizations—over the course of nearly three years of negotiations. With the adoption of the new rules, there is now a carefully negotiated and widely approved template that can serve as a model for how to conduct investor-State arbitrations transparently.
From October 1-5, 2012, a working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law met in Vienna to continue work on how to ensure transparency in treaty-based investor-state arbitration. It was the working group’s fifth week-long meeting on the topic, but will not be the last.
US court vacates award against Argentina BG Group Plc v. Argentina Lise Johnson A US appellate court has vacated an award against Argentina in a decision that may give investors pause before attempting to bypass treaty provisions requiring that they first pursue their claims in the host state’s courts. The long course of the dispute […]
Negotiations over transparency in investor-state arbitrations have reached a critical juncture heading into an October 2012 meeting in Vienna. During the last meeting in February 2012, a large number of countries, developed and developing, strongly supported options to ensure transparency in investor-state disputes that are settled under the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission […]
In January 2012, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounced the ICSID Convention, becoming the third country – after Bolivia and Ecuador – to do so. The exit from the global forum for the settlement of investment disputes signals these countries’ apparent loss of faith in the system and raises questions about the Convention’s fitness for […]
Arbitrator sharply critical of majority decision in Italian bondholder claim against Argentina Abaclat and Others (Case formerly known as Giovanna a Beccara and Others) v. Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/5 Damon Vis-Dunbar Professor Georges Abi-Saab has delivered a sharply worded dissent against a decision that granted jurisdiction to an ICSID case involving tens of […]
Philip Morris files for arbitration over intellectual property dispute with Australia The tobacco company Philip Morris filed for arbitration on 21 November 2011, claiming the government of Australia’s regulations on cigarette branding breach the Hong Kong-Australia bilateral investment treaty. The announcement arrived on the same day that the Australian Parliament passed legislation that bans most […]
Working group moves slowly on agreement for transparency in UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules A working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) met from 7-11 February 2011 in New York to discuss public access to information about disputes between investors and states under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The meeting marked the second […]
European Union institutions consider the EU’s future international investment policy Debate on the future of the European Union’s international investment policy is heating up as EU institutions weigh in with their recommendations. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the EU received exclusive competence over foreign direct investment, which […]
Ignacio Torterola In October, State delegations are expected to discuss the issue of transparency in the UNCITRAL Rules of Arbitration. Ignacio Torterola, ICSID Liaison at the Argentine Embassy in Washington, DC, and Argentine Delegate to the UNCITRAL Working Group II, explains why greater openness would benefit the investment arbitration system. Some preliminary considerations Working Group […]
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 An ad hoc tribunal under UNCTIRAL Rules has awarded German investor Walter Bau AG more than 30 million Euros in its claim against Thailand over a tollway concession gone sour. The tribunal found that the failure of Thai authorities to approve toll hikes as contemplated in the concession […]
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz April 8, 2010 An international tribunal has found Ecuador in breach of the Ecuador-United States BIT for the failure of its courts to reach a timely resolution in seven breach-of-contract lawsuits filed by Texaco Petroleum in the early 90s. The tribunal awarded Chevron Corporation, who bought Texaco in 2001, almost US$700 […]
Ecuadorians battle Chevron in U.S. court over BIT arbitration in long-running environmental damage dispute
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz March 11, 2010 Chevron and Ecuadorian citizens are in U.S. court in the latest chapter of a 16 year battle over environmental damage in Lago Agrio allegedly caused by Texaco Petroleum (TexPet), which Chevron acquired in 2001. In January of this year, a group of Ecuadorian plaintiffs which is suing the […]
Claimant seeks enforcement of environmental laws in notice of dispute alleging expropriation of Barbadian nature sanctuary
By Elizabeth Whitsitt February 14, 2010 A notice of dispute forwarded to Barbados some five months ago by Mr. Peter Allard, Canadian owner of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, contends that the Government of Barbados has violated its international obligations by refusing to enforce its environmental laws. Located on the south coast of Barbados, Graeme […]
UNCITRAL Tribunal determines that wheat supply contracts are not “investments” under Swiss-Uzbekistan BIT
By Elizabeth Whitsitt January 13, 2010 Swiss-based firm Romak S.A. has lost a protracted dispute against the Republic of Uzbekistan regarding alleged non-payment for wheat shipments to the country during the mid-1990s. On November 26, 2009 an arbitral tribunal composed of Fernando Mantilla-Serrano, Nicolas Molfessis and Noah Rubins dismissed Romak’s claims against the Republic of […]
By Elizabeth Whitsitt January 13, 2010 Later this month UK-based firm, ICS Inspection and Control Services Limited (ICS), is expected to appoint another arbitrator in its dispute against the Argentine Republic which began earlier this summer. On July 28, 2009 in accordance with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, ICS appointed Mr. Stanimir A. Alexandrov as its […]
By Elizabeth Whitsitt December 6, 2009 Mr. J. Christopher Thomas Q.C. has resigned from his appointment as an arbitrator in a Chapter 11 NAFTA dispute initiated by US investor Vito G. Gallo against the Canadian government. Canada’s nominee to the tribunal resigned on October 21, 2009, one week after ICSID Deputy Secretary-General, Nassib G. Ziade, […]
By Damon Vis-Dunbar 2 October 2009 Correction: The original headline in this article stated that Chevron Corporation alleges a denial of justice on the part of Ecuador. Chevron explains that this is incorrect. While Chevron claims that Ecuador “abuses the criminal justice system”, its notice of arbitration does not assert a denial of justice. The world’s second […]
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz 15 July 2009 A new bilateral investment treaty between Venezuela and Russia provides consent to international arbitration for settling disputes pursuant to the treaty, despite President Chavez’s criticism of international investor-to-state arbitration. Article 9 of the Russia-Venezuela BIT, published in Venezuela’s Official Gazette on 2 June 2009, allows investors to elect […]
Tribunal deniega alegato de necesidad en laudo recientemente publicado: National Grid p.l.c. c. República Argentina
Por Elizabeth Whitsitt 2 de Marzo, 2009 En un laudo recientemente publicado, un tribunal constituido conforme a una solicitud de arbitraje bajo las reglas de arbitraje de la Comisión de Naciones Unidas para el Derecho Mercantil Internacional (CNUDMI) encontró culpable a la República Argentina por los daños infringidos a National Grid p.l.c. por un total […]
Tribunal rebuffs defense of necessity in recently published award: National Grid p.l.c. v. Argentine Republic
By Elizabeth Whitsitt 2 March 2009 In a recently published award, a tribunal convened pursuant to a request for arbitration under the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) found the Argentine Republic liable to the British firm National Grid p.l.c. for damages totaling more than US$53 million. The dispute, […]
By Damon Vis-Dunbar 22 January 2009 The United Kingdom has formally declined to release a notice of arbitration delivered by an Indian citizen under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty, explaining that it would likely “prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and an international organisation; UNCITRAL.” UNCITRAL is a United Nations body responsible for international business […]
By Damon Vis-Dunbar 15 January 2009 A Canadian pharmaceutical company delivered a notice of arbitration to the United States government in December 2008 under NAFTA’s Chapter 11 on investment. The US$8 million claim is rooted in the complicated legislation that governs how generic medications can be introduced to the U.S. market. Apotex Inc., which claims […]