On July 3, 2018, Uruguay passed its International Commercial Arbitration Act after its upper house, the Chamber of Senators, signed off the draft in May. A day later, it was Argentina’s turn. These enactments mark the final step of a long awaited reform of the Argentinean and Uruguayan arbitration legislations, and finally place them on an equal footing with neighbouring states.
The International Court of Justice (the “ICJ“), the principal juridical organ of the United Nations, handed down an important judgment that clarifies the relevant standards for a breach of environmental obligations. The judgment will be of interest to states and corporate bodies alike when reviewing compliance.
The ICJ held that Uruguay breached its procedural obligations under a bilateral treaty to co-operate with Argentina and the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay (“CARU“) during its plans to build two pulp mills on the River Uruguay. However, Argentina did not win the second and more significant limb of its case, which was the allegation that Uruguay breached its substantive obligations to protect the environment. This case allowed the ICJ to develop its jurisprudence on international environmental law and trans-boundary watercourses. It is also particularly noteworthy given that it is one of the first large international cases in which the judgment was given live internet coverage, following in the footsteps of the Abyei arbitration.