Investor-State Arbitration Tribunals

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

From September 5 – 16, the delegates of UNCITRAL Working Group III were back in Vienna to continue discussing ISDS reform. While it was possible for registered delegates to watch the proceedings online, it was only possible to make interventions in person. This approach, which we understand to be a general UN approach, decisively shifted the Working Group’s centre of gravity back to the physical room. The people – and the margins – were back. The margins were busy as delegates saw each other again after two years online. Many delegates arrived early and left late to have more time with colleagues. The passage of time came up often in these conversations, and was palpable in the room and process more generally. Many new, often younger, faces were in the room this time alongside the familiar faces, as some officials who have been with the process rotate into new positions within government, get promoted, or move on.  Delegates seemed eager to get back to work with a full six hours of meeting…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform (Hybrid): Islands of Persuasion

Since UNCITRAL Working Group III opened its most recent session on 14 February, many delegates began their interventions by wishing each other a Happy Valentine’s Day. As they did this, we recalled our blog after the first virtual session, in which we wrote that moving online was “like entering into a long distance relationship that remains fueled…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform (Hybrid): Season 5 – Watching the Grass Grow

Watching UNCITRAL Working Group III over the years has been a bit like viewing a long-running television series. The beginning of the process was exciting as we met a compelling cast of characters and the plot line began to take shape. Sometimes there was high drama: Which actors would support which kinds of reforms? Which ones would oppose…

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Ecuador returns to the ICSID Convention: A brief assessment of its decade-long international investment law ‘exit strategy’

On July 6, 2009, Ecuador notified (here) the World Bank of its denunciation of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention). This denunciation formed part of a strategy of resistance to the international investment regime. Around that time, this South American country also began to terminate its…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform (Online): Crossing the Chasm

To text or not to text? That is the question. Or, rather, that was the question at UNCITRAL when Working Group III resumed its deliberations online last week. The Working Group’s focus was structural reforms, first selection and appointment of permanent or fixed-term adjudicators, then an appellate mechanism. As readers of this series know well, states hold different…

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