Investor-State Arbitration Tribunals

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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. We would like to broaden the discussion on three points in particular. First, without questioning the right of the Dutch parliament to reject or endorse CETA, it merits pointing out that the scope of this right is not all encompassing. Second, on the issue of the ISDS regime that is included in CETA we argue that the decision to accept or reject it should be informed by a thorough knowledge of both the law and practice of ISDS. Third and finally, we argue that it is useful to take a step back and ask the question whether comprehensive trade agreements, such as CETA, need to be concluded as mixed agreements to begin with.

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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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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform (Online): Can You Hear Me Now?

‘Can you hear me now?’ is a question that the delegates of Working Group III asked each other often last week, as negotiations on ISDS reform continued but were, for the first time, online. Moving online means that negotiators are also facing many other new questions. How do you keep momentum going? Does moving online mean more governments and…

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Uses and abuses of authentic interpretations of international investment agreements: Reflections on the role of arbitral tribunals as masters of the judicial function

In their previous posts, Catharine Titi and Tarcisio Gazzini discussed some general aspects concerning authentic (joint) interpretations of international investment agreements. They brilliantly clarified aspects concerning the timing of joint interpretations as well as the murky difference between interpretations and amendments of investment treaties. This post will not delve into what was already explained by my…

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The Timing of Treaty Party Interpretations

Treaty interpretation by treaty Parties was initially planned to be discussed in the 39th session of UNCITRAL Working Group III scheduled to take place in New York in March-April 2020. A Note prepared by the UNCITRAL Secretariat in anticipation of the now-postponed session addressed treaty interpretation in the context of ISDS, pointing to the existing interpretive…

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