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The Peruvian State’s Response to International Investment Disputes

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The dispute settlement system between foreign investors and host States of investment has seen an important development in recent years. This should not be a surprise if we consider that the trend of signing bilateral agreements for the promotion and protection of investments had a notable increase at the beginning of the nineties. These agreements establish a series of guarantees and minimum protections for foreign investment, as well as a mechanism for the resolution of disputes that may arise with respect to alleged breaches of said commitments. The vast majority of proceedings initiated at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) are based on an alleged breach of one of these instruments.

Peru has not been a stranger to the tendency of signing international agreements for the promotion and protection of investments and, unfortunately, it has also seen a sharp increase in new international investment controversies in recent years.

After facing a first case in 2003, Peru understood the importance of being able to efficiently and effectively organize its defence, establish coordination mechanisms within the State, centralize all relevant information and define the responsibilities of the entities involved in the controversies.READ MORE

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Belgian Supreme Court Rules on Validity of NATO’s Arbitration Clause in Light of Article 6 ECHR

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On 27 September 2018, the Belgian Supreme Court handed down a judgment regarding the validity, in light of Article 6, paragraph 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights (the ECHR), of an arbitration clause contained in a service agreement concluded between the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and one of its gardeners (Mr. P) in 2007.READ MORE

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A Watershed Moment for ISDS Reform

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Last week marked a watershed moment for the movement to reform investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Meeting in Vienna, Delegates to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III (WGIII) agreed to work multilaterally to reform the resolution of investment disputes. Delegates agreed to focus on responding to key systemic concerns with ISDS, as identified in WGIII’s two previous sessions.[1]

WGIII began its work on ISDS in Vienna last year, at its 34th Session. From the start, Delegates divided the process into three broad phases: identifying concerns about ISDS (Phase I); deciding which concerns, if any, were ripe for multilateral reform in UNCITRAL (Phase II); and designing options for reforms responding to any such concerns (Phase III). Phases I and II would be of prime importance in setting the frame. Though additional concerns can always be raised, any agenda for reform would be largely grounded in the problems identified in these early meetings. WGIII began its work identifying concerns with ISDS in 2017 and essentially concluded Phase I at its 35th Session in New York last Spring. By the end of that meeting, WGIII had identified a range of procedural and structural concerns with ISDS, relating to: (i) fragmented arbitral outcomes; (ii) the arbitrators charged with adjudicating disputes; (iii) matters of duration and cost; and (iv) third-party funding.READ MORE

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European Court of Human Rights Rules That, If So Requested, CAS Hearings Must Be Public

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On 2 October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (the ECtHR) held in the case of Mutu and Pechstein v. Switzerland that arbitration proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (the CAS) violated the right to a fair trial enshrined in Article 6, paragraph 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the ECHR) if those proceedings were not conducted publicly despite the express request of one of the parties.READ MORE

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Report of Third EU Stakeholder Meeting on ISDS Reform

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Yesterday (9 October 2018), the European Commission held its third stakeholder meeting on the reform of investor-State dispute resolution (ISDS) mechanisms (see here and here for reports of the two previous meetings).

The goal of this meeting was (prior to the third round of discussions on the ISDS reform which will be held in Vienna (29 October – 2 November 2018) within UNICTRAL Working Group III (Working Group III)) to share with civil society the key aspects of those negotiations.

As was the case in the two previous meetings, Mr. Colin Brown (Deputy Head, Dispute Settlement and Legal aspect of Trade policy Unit) gave an overview of the current state of play, and responded to questions from attendees.READ MORE

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Vattenfall v. Germany: Tribunal Subtly Avoids Applying Achmea Judgment and Finds that Article 26(6) ECT Does Not Apply to Jurisdiction Issues

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On 31 August 2018, the ICSID tribunal in Vattenfall v. Germany issued a decision addressing the consequences, for this case, of the Achmea judgment handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) on 6 March 2018 (see previous analysis of the Achmea judgment here and here).

The case at hand is a well-known investment dispute whereby a Swedish investor (Vattenfall) initiated arbitral proceedings against Germany seeking compensation for damages incurred following Germany’s decision to shut down all the nuclear power plants on its territory and to replace them with green energy alternatives. Vattenfall, which owned such nuclear power plants, argued that such decision amounted to an expropriation which violated the Energy Charter Treaty (the ECT – a multilateral agreement to which both Germany and Sweden were parties to, together with all other EU Member States, the European Union and several third countries (including Japan, and Central Asian countries)).

In the Achmea judgment, the CJEU ruled that an intra-EU investment arbitration case between two EU parties, a Dutch investor and Slovakia, violated EU law. However, in stark difference with the Vattenfall case (where the underlying basis for arbitration was the ECT’s investor-State dispute resolution clause provided for in Article 26), the basis for the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal in Achmea was the Czechoslovakia-Netherlands bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

Based on that judgment, and since the Vattenfall case also involved EU parties (i.e., a Swedish investor against an EU Member State), Germany argued that the arbitral tribunal in Vattenfall lacked jurisdiction since the findings of the CJEU in Achmea were “not limited to BITs between EU Member States, but must also be applied to multilateral agreement to which EU Member States are party, such as the ECT“.READ MORE

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English Court of Appeal Stays Miculas’ Enforcement Proceedings

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On 27 July 2018 the English Court of Appeal (the Court of Appeal) confirmed the stay of UK enforcement proceedings of the 2013 arbitral award handed down in favour of the Micula brothers (the Miculas). Interestingly, the Court of Appeal’s ruling carefully navigates through the thorny interrelationship of the ICSID Convention and EU law.READ MORE

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