Investor-State Arbitration Tribunals

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The Draft Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in Investor-State Dispute Settlement: An Important Step Forward in the Reform Process?

On May 1, 2020, the secretariats of ICSID and UNCITRAL released the first draft of the Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). States, international organisations and other stakeholders have until October 15 to send comments on the draft. I had the privilege to work extensively on the draft Code as a scholar in residence at ICSID from September 2019 to March 2020, while on Sabbatical leave from my own law school. In this short contribution, I first put the code in the larger context of the ISDS reform process, then explain the main provisions and general content of the draft, and finally provide some comments and ways forward.

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COVID-19 and ‘War’ Clauses in Investment Treaties: A Breach through the Wall of State Sovereignty?

In the fog of COVID-19, lawyers are identifying ways to hold States accountable for the outbreak, indecision and/or actions, whether or not violating due diligence obligations. States have adopted different measures, with varying success and degree of intrusiveness: from lockdowns over export restrictions and requisitions, to stimulus legislation and even infection tracking. As with…

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A New Hope for the Yukos Shareholders – PCA Awards Revived by the Hague Court of Appeal

Four years ago, the Hague district court gave an unexpected twist to the dispute between Russia and shareholders of the former oil company Yukos, setting aside the 50 billion USD awards issued by an investment arbitration tribunal under the auspices of the PCA on grounds of Russia’s breach of the expropriation clause of the…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: Plausible Folk Theories

  As observers of the UNCITRAL process, we watch the debates with great interest, writing about the emergence of different camps, giving perspectives on how the process fits within broader geopolitical developments, and offering potential models for moving forward. One thing that we are often struck by is how some of the field’s underlying narratives are…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reforms: What Makes Something Fly?

  When conducting an international negotiation, the Chair has to ask him or herself: what makes something fly? This question really has two parts. The first concerns the negotiations themselves. Once you’ve taken off and achieved a certain cruising speed and altitude, how do you keep the momentum going? Will some flight paths be smoother than…

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