Assessing Treaty-Based Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Abandon, Retain or Reform?
Transnational Dispute Management, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. i-iv, 2014
29 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2013 Last revised: 17 Aug 2015
Date Written: June 14, 2013
Treaty-based investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is attracting increasing public debate. Particular concerns involve treaty provisions allowing investors from the home state to initiate arbitration claims directly against the host state for allegedly violating substantive rights (eg relating to expropriation) guaranteed by regional and bilateral investment treaties or free trade agreements.
Some commentators and a few countries now favour abandoning such protections altogether, leaving foreign investors to the vicissitudes of domestic law and court procedures in the host state, or of any inter-state process under customary international law or as agreed in investment treaties. Others suggest that treaty practice and international arbitrators' rulings are adequate, so no change is needed to this system. A third group seeks a middle way, proposing various procedural and substantive law reforms to re-balance private versus public interests involved in promoting and protecting cross-border investment.
This paper is based on an Open Letter derived from an online form publicised among those familiar with such international investment law issues. Almost all favoured the middle way, with considerable agreement on several possible reforms. These insights should prove useful in framing the ongoing debate, negotiations over new investment treaties, and perhaps even investor-state arbitration proceedings relating to existing treaties.
Keywords: International investment law, international arbitration, international law, dispute resolution, comparative law, Asian law
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation