2015 has witnessed numerous interesting legal developments in the field of international arbitration in Latin America, although these have been wide-ranging in nature and have not always followed the same path. While some jurisdictions have taken legislative steps to introduce or consolidate pro-arbitration legislation in accordance with internationally accepted standards, others, perhaps influenced by negative…

By a Final Award dated 27 October 2015 (see ICSID Case No. ARB/11/33 – Adel A Hamadi Al Tamimi v. Sultanate of Oman), an international tribunal constituted under the International Convention for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), also commonly referred to as the Washington Convention, dismissed all claims brought by a US national against the…

by Nahila Cortes, American University Washington College of Law Much is being said about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”), the landmark free trade agreement signed by twelve States accounting for 40% of the world trade. Chapter 9, the investment chapter, is an important provision which applies to investors (i.e. a national or company of a…

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’….

“ISDS” (short for “investor-state dispute settlement”) was a less-known acronym some years back. Now, it has been given an increasingly bad name, no doubt fuelled by Vattenfall’s claim against Germany following the shutting down of its nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, tobacco giant Philip Morris’ high profile claims arising from Australia’s plain-labelling laws,…

It is not unusual that a foreign investor is put in a situation where the investment has not been infringed yet and no damage has been caused, but an infringement is very likely to happen. The investor is then often left without any available domestic recourse, which is particularly true as regards general legislative measures….

It comes as no surprise to those familiar with investment treaty law to see the concept of legitimate expectations continuously refined by case law. One of the facets of legitimate expectations, which is most often the topic of intensive debate in the investment treaty arbitration arena, is the analysis of the extent to which representations…

The Dissenting Opinion of Georges Abi-Saab to the Decision on Jurisdiction and Merits of September 3, 2013 in the case ConocoPhillips, Petrozuata B.V., ConocoPhillips Hamaca B.V. and ConocoPhillips Gulf of Paria B.V. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/30 (hereinafter the “Dissenting Opinion”), raises the issue of whether there is a duty to…

Given the existence of thousands of international investment agreements, the international investment law regime has been described as “complex and confusing,” “highly fragmented,” and “characterised by overlaps and incoherence”. Two key developments, however, are contributing to the harmonization of that regime. First, a set of major agreements is being negotiated by many of the world’s…

On May 26, 2015, Brazil signed its third investment treaty of 2015 with Mexico. Given the agreements previously signed with Angola and Mozambique, this certainly comes as a confirmation of a new Brazilian attitude towards the regulation of foreign investment. The instrument mostly follows the same model used for the previous two: a Cooperation and…

No doubt that the last three years have been quite busy for the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and for the Energy Charter Conference. The number of investor-state arbitration cases under Article 26 of the ECT doubled in this time span, going from thirty known cases to sixty-eight (as reported on the website of the Energy…

The University of Virginia’s Spring 2014 symposium focused on the topic of international development. One panel focused on the role of international politics in the context of international dispute settlement. With the mandate to examine elements related to both politics and development, I was asked to explore outcomes in investment treaty arbitration (ITA) as a…

The Higher Regional Court Frankfurt (OLG Frankfurt) has recently strengthened the efficiency of parties’ wills embodied in arbitration agreements. In a crucial decision (OLG Frankfurt am Main, 26 Sch 3/13, Ruling, 18 December 2014), the judges have added clarity to the practical problem of how to resolve friction between an increasingly dense net of treaty…

Germany’s position on international investment law and investor-State arbitration is attracting increasing attention since the signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in September 2014 has been deferred, inter alia, because of opposition from Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. Is Germany, the country that not only has…

What are the effects of a settlement agreement between the locally incorporated company and the host state on the foreign shareholder’s pending BIT claim? Two views have emerged under investment treaty arbitration case law. The first view, adopted in Sempra v. Argentina (ICSID Case No. ARB/02/16) and Hochtief v. Argentina (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/31) decisions, holds…

A recent seminar delivered under the Chatham House Rule considered the usefulness of an analogy between Investment Treaty Arbitration (ITA) and domestic public law, with a view to critiquing perceived imbalances in the former. The content of the seminar was grounded in the speaker’s background in ITA and public law litigation including domestic judicial review…

The Inaugural Conference of the European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration (EFILA) took place on Friday, 23 January 2015, in the Senate House of the Queen Mary University of London. 160 participants ranging from academics, arbitrators, arbitration institutions, companies, lawyers to NGOs reviewed a full day long the EU’s first 5 years of European…

Although a bilateral investment treaty (“BIT”) arbitration and an application made before the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) could, at first glance, present opposite objectives, investors alleging a violation of their rights by a State may be inclined to make use of both remedies. As it will be elaborated below, the case law…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Let’s get this straight: When awarded to persons, including foreign investors, moral damages are compensatory in nature. They are not discretionary. They are not symbolic. They are not exemplary. They are not punitive. Rather, as the commentary to the ILC Draft Articles 36 and 37 on State Responsibility notes, “[c]ompensable personal injury encompasses not only…

Indonesia is not the only Asia-Pacific nation that is reassessing investment treaties containing provisions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS, especially arbitration). India announced a review in 2013, partly in the wake of the successful claim from an Australian mining investor, although the impact in practice is hard to discern or predict – especially under the…