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Transparency as a Global Norm in International Investment Law

Transparency is one of the hot topics in international law. With governance functions increasingly shifting from the domestic to the international level, transparency is demanded, as Andrea Bianchi and Anne Peters show in their new seminal study, in order to compensate for the lack of a full-fledged international system of checks and balances. Transparency promises a more accountable, more democratic and hence more legitimate system of global governance. International investment law cannot escape from this general drift. As I noted in my Editorial for the latest issue of the Journal or World Investment and Trade (JWIT), secrecy in treaty negotiations and confidentiality in dispute settlement [...]

Untying the Knot: Estoppel and Implicit Designation of a Constituent Subdivision or Agency under the ICSID Convention

and Oleg Temnikov

Foreword

Designation by a State of a constituent subdivision or agency provided for in Article 25, paragraphs 1 and 3, of the ICSID Convention has recently sparked a debate particularly in terms of the manner in which the designation is made and communicated to the Center.

This is the subject of the present post.

I. Meaning of “constituent subdivision or agency of a Contracting State”

Past tribunals have noted that “the term ‘constituent subdivisions’ covers a fair range of subdivisions including municipalities, local government bodies in unitary states, semi-autonomous dependencies, provinces or federated States in non-unitary States and the local government bo [...]

The Problem of Repeat Arbitrators in Investment Arbitration

The very nature of an arbitrator requires that she or he be imbued with the principles of independence and impartiality, qualities that should never be doubted. Nonetheless, there has recently been an increased number of challenges to arbitrators in Investment Arbitrations subject to the procedures of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (the “ICSID”). There is a strong view that the ICSID arbitrators appear to be earning an unfortunate reputation as lacking in the aforementioned independence and impartiality due to, for example, multiple appointments by the same parties or counsel who happen to be called upon to resolve similar disputes or issues at the ICSID. [...]

Notes on the Persistent Latin American Countries’ Attitude Towards Investment Arbitration and ICSID

Investment arbitration is a crucial and sensitive dispute-resolution method, notably because the treatment given to foreign investment matters may materially affect the economic and social realities of a country or region, particularly those in development. In the last decade, however, as already reported and addressed in this blog by, among many others, Vanessa Giraud and Carlos González-Bueno, countries in Latin America — a true hot-spot for foreign investment1 — have been either ignoring, denouncing or resisting the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”), the dispute-resolution framework for investment protection enacted under the Washington Convent [...]

Towards A Revised Threshold for Arbitrators’ Challenges Under ICSID?

The ICSID Convention threshold for arbitrators’ challenges, upholding challenges only if arbitrators exhibit a manifest lack of the qualities required to sit as arbitrators (Art. 57 ICSID Convention), has in the past been criticized as being too strict.

Recently, however, few decisions, discussed in this post, seem to show that the ICSID “manifest” threshold is being interpreted differently, and more in line with the more common “appearance of bias” standard.

In Blue Bank v. Venezuela, decided in November 2013, the Chairman of the World Bank Administrative Council (Chairman), Dr. Jim Yong Kim, decided and accepted the proposal to disqualify Claimant’s appointee, José María Alon [...]

Rule 41(5) of the ICSID Arbitration Rules: The Sleeping Beauty of the ICSID system

and Oleg Temnikov

Foreword
The recent decision on preliminary objections, dated 17 January 2014, against the application for annulment in Elsamex S.A. v. Honduras (ARB/09/4) brought renewed interest in the procedure for summary dismissal of unmeritorious claims under Rule 41(5) of the ICSID Arbitration Rules.

The present post examines shortly this procedure as well as the implications of the above mentioned decision.

I. Characteristics
In response to criticism that no procedure exists for the expeditious dismissal of patently unmeritorious claims, in 2006, the ICSID adopted Arbitration Rule 41(5). This procedure is intended to strike a balance between the need to save time and costs and, [...]

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