Australia has reinforced its commitment to improving the global investment environment with the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration, also known as the “Mauritius Convention”.
The Mauritius Convention will apply greater transparency to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) proceedings. Specifically, the Convention extends the application of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration to ISDS proceedings commenced under treaties concluded prior to 1 April 2014. As explained by the Australian Government, this will align the relevant ISDS proceedings with the transparency measures applicable in Australia’s more recent Free Trade Agreements, such as the agreements with Peru, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The Convention will enter into force for Australia on 17 March 2021.
Through incorporating the UNCITRAL Rules, the Mauritius Convention prescribes requirements such as:
- the publication of information regarding the names of disputing parties, economic sector involved and treaty under which the claim is being made (Article 2);
- that certain documents be made available to the public such as the notice of arbitration and response, statement of claim and statement of defence and further written statements or submissions (Article 3);
- the potential (after consultation with the parties) for a third person to file a written submission with the arbitral tribunal regarding a matter within the scope of the dispute (Article 4); and
- for hearings for the presentation of evidence or for oral argument to be made public (Article 6).
For more information, please contact Brenda Horrigan, Partner, Guillermo Garcia-Perrote, Senior Associate, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.