On 1 January 2017, the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (‘ACICA’) released a new Guideline on the Use of Tribunal Secretaries. This new Guideline addresses a silence in the existing ACICA Arbitration Rules as to the scope for tribunals to appoint arbitral secretaries, and the basis upon which they might be appointed. This post…

Recent developments indicate there may be increasing interest in the creation of alternative forms of dispute resolution for investor-State disputes. One potential alternative is mediation. This post outlines how 2016 has been an important year for investor-State mediation, considers how mediation interacts with investment treaty arbitration, and the benefits and risks associated with such a…

On 7 July 2016, the UNCITRAL Commission adopted a revised and updated version of the UNCITRAL Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings. The 2016 Notes replace a 1996 edition, and aim to flag procedural issues typically associated with arbitral proceedings. They include guidance on matters such as the language(s) of the proceedings, confidentiality and transparency, and…

by Esmé Shirlow (Assistant Editor for Australia & New Zealand)   Gabriele Ruscalla has recently observed that “transparency has become a fundamental principle in international adjudication”. The transparency paradigms governing different types of international adjudication are, however, far from uniform. Discussions of transparency in international arbitration typically begin, for example, from a distinction between commercial and investment treaty disputes. As Cristoffer Nyegaard Mollestad explains…

As Mariel Dimsey has observed, a key challenge posed by investment treaties is that – at the point of ratification – they expose States to arbitrations of ‘as-yet-unknown scope and against as-yet-unknown claimants’. Gus van Harten and Martin Loughlin argue that this feature differentiates investment disputes from those heard in other fora, transforming investment disputes into something akin to ‘domestic judicial review of state conduct’….

The Report from the inquiry of the Australian Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee into Australian treaty-making practices comes at a time when increasing pressure is being placed upon governments to adopt more transparent and consultative approaches to the negotiation of trade and investment treaties. The report, titled “Blind Agreement: Reforming Australia’s Treaty-Making…

On the 24th of June, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (‘UNCTAD’) launched its 2015 World Investment Report. The Report, titled “Reforming International Investment Governance”, is the 25th in the yearly series from the UN body. As for previous years, the 2015 Report provides a statistical summary of the prior year’s foreign direct…

On 24 June 2015, the Australian Productivity Commission released its eighteenth Trade and Assistance Review 2013-14. The Commission is an independent research and advisory body, with statutory authority to report annually on the economic impacts of Australia’s international trade policy. As readers of this blog may recall, in previous years the Commission’s Review has influenced…

On 17 March 2015, the UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration was opened for signature. So far, nine countries have signed the treaty (among them, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States). The Convention will enter into force six months after the first three instruments of ratification have been deposited…

Both UNCTAD and ICSID have recently released documents designed to provide snapshots of key developments and trends in investor-State arbitration. Both documents draw upon a statistical analysis of case filings and outcomes to generate overviews of the lay of the land in this area of law. The documents highlight a number of important trends, and…

The question of what constitutes an “arbitration” is unlikely to be one that arbitral practitioners have cause to ponder on a daily basis. In fact, such a question might appear at first to be purely theoretical or academic. A recent case (ASADA v 34 Players) from the Victorian Supreme Court in Australia, however, shows the…