One of the Advocates General to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Advocate General Bot, has issued an opinion confirming that the mechanism for the settlement of disputes between investors and states provided for in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (the CETA) is compatible with European Union law.
We discuss the content of the Advocate General’s opinion on our new blog piece, published on our Public International Law blog here.
For further information please contact Andrew Cannon, Partner, Hannah Ambrose, Senior Associate, Vanessa Naish, Professional Support Consultant, Rebecca Warder, Professional Support Lawyer, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.
An UNCITRAL arbitral tribunal has reportedly dismissed a US$36 million claim by a French investor, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS (“LDA“), against India under the 1997 France-India bilateral investment treaty (“BIT“). The award is not public at this time, but press reports state that LDA has also been ordered to pay approximately US$7 million in respect of India’s substantial legal expenses.
In the past few years, discontent about Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS, a recognised shorthand for ad hoc arbitration of investor-state disputes) has been fomenting in various parts of the world but nowhere more so than within the EU. The European Commission’s focus on ISDS has been so intense that far-reaching reform has been portrayed by many as inevitable. The Commission’s proposal is for the development of a multilateral investment court system (MIC). The proposal is ambitious, but may not be realistic or achievable. Last year, the ISDS debate moved into the auspices of UNCITRAL Working Group III (WGIII). It is recognised in the report of the 35th session of WGIII that this “constitute[s] a unique opportunity to make meaningful reforms in the field”. Certainly the involvement of high level government representatives from across the world and the transparent nature of WGIII’s process suggest this forum provides the conditions for systemic reform. However, the features of the WG III process expose the Commission’s plans to global scrutiny at a relatively early stage in their development, potentially before the Commission has managed to gain significant support for wholesale change. One of the EU delegation, in its capacity as an observer, noted in the 34th session that the EU was “confident that UNCITRAL is a forum where a solution can be found” even where the delegates start from different positions. The question will be whether the conclusion of the deliberations will lead to the reform that the Commission wants.
New Zealand has recently signed “side letters” to exclude compulsory Investor State Dispute Settlement (“ISDS“) with five members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP“) – Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Peru, Viet Nam and Australia. This demonstrates the evolving approach to ISDS in the Asia Pacific region and is of particular interest both in the context of the worldwide debate about the future of ISDS, and also due to the importance of CPTPP members within the global economy.
After a number of years of public debate in a variety of fora, the discussion of the future development of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has recently moved to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). UNCITRAL Working Group III (WGIII) has been given a broad mandate to identify concerns regarding ISDS, consider whether reform is desirable and, if so, develop relevant solutions to be recommended to UNCITRAL.
WGIII started its work in the 34th session which took place from 27 November to 1 December 2017. As discussed further below, a number of key points were discussed, including: (i) the duration and costs involved in the procedure; (ii) the allocation of costs; and (iii) transparency. There was also some preliminary consideration of possible developments or changes in relation to the treatment of these issues. The Report of the 34th session indicates that some states advocate a fact-based analysis of ISDS but others note the need to address wider public perceptions of ISDS, as these can raise concerns over the legitimacy of the system.
Bringing the debate about the future of ISDS under the auspices of UNCITRAL, involving high level government representatives from across the world, and also in view of the transparent nature of WGIII’s process, raises the stakes, and perhaps also the prospects, of a more systemic reform. However, whilst the forum has the potential to generate a multilateral plan for ISDS, it is hard to discern any broad consensus at this stage either on the nature of the perceived problems associated with the current system of ad hoc arbitration, or on how those problems may be resolved. This is apparent from the Report and also from the audio recordings (helpfully summarised by IA Reporter, here). The 35th session will take place on April 23 to April 27 2018, following which further clarity on these issues may emerge.
Herbert Smith Freehills and BIICL Investment Treaty Forum warmly invite you to attend ‘The Future of Investment Arbitration: Have We Reached a High Water Mark?’.
|Date||Wednesday 1 November 2017|
17:30: Panel discussion followed by drinks and networking
|Venue||Exchange House, Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2EG|
Please click here to view map
|Registration ||Click here to register with the BIICL events team directly.|
Please note there are a limited number of complimentary spaces.
As discussed in our blog post here, on 21 December 2016 the EU Commission launched a public consultation on the multilateral reform of the investment dispute settlement system. The consultation closed on 15 March 2017 with a full report of the responses anticipated later this year. Herbert Smith Freehills has submitted a position paper to the Commission in response to the consultation.
Join us for a panel discussion on the dispute resolution system in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), presented by experts in international arbitration, as well as members of TPP government negotiating teams from Peru and Mexico. They will discuss the controversies arising out of the TPP's adoption of investor state arbitration.
Date: Thursday, January 7, 2016
Time: Registration will begin at 8:30am. Breakfast will be served. The panel discussion will begin at 9am.
Venue: Yale Club of New York, 50 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Please click here to view map.
Registration: To register please contact Rochelle.Eades@hsf.com or Danielle.Schultz@hsf.com.
For more information and the list of speakers, please see below.
On 16 September the European Commission published detailed draft proposals for the investment chapter in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership treaty between the EU and the US (“TTIP”). The full text is available here. The chapter includes detailed investment protections and the establishment of an International Investment Court to resolve disputes under the TTIP. These proposals follow the Commission’s 5 May 2015 Concept Paper (discussed in our earlier blog here), which looked at reforming the ISDS system and proposed moving away from the current system of Investment Treaty arbitration.
The Commission has made it clear that this draft is for discussion and consideration within the EU before being put to the US as part of the TTIP text.
We explore and summarise below some of the key issues raised in the chapter.
There has never been a time of greater public engagement in the whole system of Investment Treaties and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions contained within them. The ongoing negotiation of both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has provoked very heated legal and political debate from both sides of the globe. Yet, while the debate rages over the provisions contained within these treaties, arbitral tribunals continue to produce arbitral awards which raise interesting new issues in this ever developing area of international law.
In this webinar, four of our Investment Treaty arbitration specialists will look at the ongoing debate surrounding investment protection and ISDS, focusing on the TTIP and TPP and the current approaches being adopted in their negotiation. They will consider what the future looks like for ISDS if these two treaties form a “blueprint” for the future of investment protection. They will also provide an update on recent developments in the sphere of investment arbitration, including the EU’s developing position on Intra-EU claims, provisional measures, arbitrator challenges and the annulment process.
Isabelle Michou, Partner, International Arbitration, Paris (Chair)
Christian Leathley, Partner, International Arbitration, London
Andrew Cannon, Partner, International Arbitration, Paris
Iain Maxwell, Of Counsel, International Arbitration, London
If you would like to register for this event please contact Prudence Heidemans.
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