Investor-State Arbitration Tribunals

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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 substantive views about the desirability of structural reform and these differences came out clearly in their interventions. But the more significant question of the week was one of process: whether, despite these differences, the time had come to move to text in an effort to “cross the chasm” of developing reforms. During the week, that question was answered in the affirmative. The movement toward “texting” was significant, though not unexpected. In a letter to delegates before the session, the Chair explained that the Working Group will be developing numerous reforms over the coming years that will be presented for review and approval by the Commission on a rolling basis. However, the expectation is that all…

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Against DCF valuation in ISDS: on the inflation of awards and the need to rethink the calculation of compensation for the loss of future profits

One of the most noticeable facts in recent ISDS is the spectacular inflation of compensation awarded to investors. The overall increase in the amounts is well documented. Of the (now more than) 50 known awards in excess of USD 100 million, none was rendered before 2000 and only 11 before 2010. What is most attention-grabbing, however,…

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Belgium asks European Court of Justice to opine on compatibility of Energy Charter Treaty’s investor-State arbitration provisions with EU law

On 3 December 2020, the Government of Belgium announced that it was submitting a request to the Court of Justice of the European Union for an opinion on ‘the compatibility of the intra-European application of the arbitration provisions of the future modernised Energy Charter Treaty with the European Treaties.’ This is major news, potentially sounding the death knell…

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To CETA or not to CETA: Reflections on ISDS and the special responsibility of national parliaments

In a reaction to an EJIL: Talk! post by Baetens et al., Arcuri et al. claim that the Dutch parliament has the right to reject CETA and also argue in favour of it doing so. The post by Arcuri et al. raises important points that merit further discussion, among legal academics and practitioners, politicians, and citizens.

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Expropriating democracy: on the right and legitimacy of not ratifying CETA

In May 2020, the unwinding saga in CETA’s ratification landed in a divided Dutch Senate. The date of the decisive vote in the Senate is dependent on the government’s response to questions raised by senators. Academics have suggested that the Netherlands should ratify CETA because not doing so ‘would be a very negative signal’ ‘in today’s crumbling…

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