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“Investment Arbitration Is Now On Broadway, And The Critics Are Not Being Kind”

That was the assessment of Constantine Partasides QC, founding partner of Three Crowns, during his keynote address to the joint ITA-IEL conference. According to Mr. Partasides, there is a developing consensus among states that it is acceptable, and even virtuous, to challenge investor-state arbitration as an infringement on the rights of the public to pass laws through their democratically-elected representatives. Thus it has become de rigueur for a sovereign to challenge and obstruct the arbitral process, through challenges to the appointed arbitrators, jurisdictional objections, and post-award challenges to awards and their enforcement. Resistance to investor-state arbitration is increa [...]

Previous Decisions in Investment Arbitration

It is well settled that there is no rule of precedent in investment arbitration and arbitrators are not bound by decisions rendered by previous tribunals. Nevertheless, investment arbitration practice shows that previous decisions are often observed and followed. Disputing parties and arbitrators devote significant attention to previous decisions and on several occasions arbitral tribunals rely on the reasoning of previous decision in order to legitimate their own decisions. In certain cases, arbitrators considered that, even though they are not bound by previous decisions, there is a duty to follow the solution given in previous cases.

The decision rendered in the case of Saipem S.p.A. v. B [...]

ICSID Tribunal declines personal jurisdiction over dual national under Egypt-UAE BIT

In an Award on Jurisdiction rendered earlier this year under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the “ICSID Convention”) in ICSID Case No. ARB/11/7 – National Gas S.A.E. v. Arab Republic of Egypt (a copy of which is electronically available on the official Investment Treaty Arbitration website at http://www.italaw.com/cases/2494), a tribunal composed of Mr. V.V. Veeder QC as President, The Honorable L. Yves Fortier QC and Prof. Brigitte Stern declined jurisdiction ratione personae over an Egyptian corporate claimant, National Gas S.A.E., a private joint stock company incorporated under the laws of the Arab Republic of Eg [...]

A blast from the past… the ‘unified Arab investment treaty’ and finality of arbitration awards

In one of the very rare decisions issued by courts in the Arab world applying the provisions of the Unified Agreement for the Investment of Arab Capital in the Arab States (the “UAIAC”), the Cairo Court of Appeal has revived in its decision dated February 5, 2014, the principle of finality of arbitration awards, by which it rejected a claim for annulment of a UAIAC award, filed by the State of Libya (first claimant to annulment), the Libyan ministries of Economy and Finance (second and third claimants) and the General Authority for encouraging investments (fourth claimant), against a kuwaiti investor, Al-Kharafi & Sons Co. (case n° 39, judicial year 130/2014). The ratio decidendi of the cou [...]

Juries for Foreign Investment Disputes

Paraphrasing Churchill, investment arbitration is the worst form of foreign investment dispute resolution, except for all the others. Post-Suez, governments are more civilised than to employ gunboat diplomacy for their own investors, and local courts are inherently partial. Achieving neutrality is the objective, and the only means: investment arbitration. This is the conventional wisdom for rationalising the use of arbitration for foreign investment disputes.

Investment arbitration is imperfect. An oft-cited cause of this imperfection is doctrinal inconsistency, with an ICSID appellate body being trumpeted as the antidote. Partiality of arbitrators, propensity to annul decisions, and la [...]

Interpreting Investment Treaties

One of the recurrent controversial issues in the investment arbitration practice relates to the application of the general rule of treaty interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties in the interpretation of the provisions of the ICSID Convention and of investment treaties in general.

Thomas Wälde in one of his last writings pointed out that “[t]ribunals often do not practise what they preach; reference to the Vienna Rules is now mandatory, but such reference does not mean the Rules are taken and applied seriously” and “it is difficult to find a tribunal which formally and properly applied the Vienna Rules step by step” (Interpreting Investment Treaties: Experience [...]

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