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Investor-State Dispute Prevention: A Critical Reflection, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Ella Merrill Sep 2021

Investor-State Dispute Prevention: A Critical Reflection, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Ella Merrill

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

With the rise of treaty-based investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) which has taken place over the last two decades, a number of governments have adopted varying approaches to avoid those arbitration cases. Countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Mexico, Mongolia, and Peru have pursued such initiatives, often with the support of intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations Convention on Trade and Development (“UNCTAD”) and the World Bank.

In the context of discussions on ISDS reform taking place at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”), some states have identified development and implementation of such ISDS-avoidance strategies and tools ...


Comments To The Draft Working Group Iii Workplan, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, International Institute For Environment And Development, International Institute For Sustainable Development Mar 2021

Comments To The Draft Working Group Iii Workplan, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, International Institute For Environment And Development, International Institute For Sustainable Development

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Should The European Union Fix, Leave Or Kill The Energy Charter Treaty?, Martin Dietrich Brauch Feb 2021

Should The European Union Fix, Leave Or Kill The Energy Charter Treaty?, Martin Dietrich Brauch

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In the early 1990s, the European Economic Community – the predecessor of the European Union (EU) – spearheaded an initiative to promote international cooperation in the energy sector, particularly with post-Soviet States in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Out of this process the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was born in 1994. Going much beyond international cooperation, the treaty allows foreign investors in the energy sector to sue their host States in international arbitral tribunals and claim monetary compensation when policy measures and other State action affect their interests.

Fast-forward to 2021. With 135 known cases initiated to date, the ECT’s is ...


Doctrinal Conflict In Foreign Investment Regulation In India: ​​Ntt Docomo Vs. Tata Sons And The Case For “Downside Protection”, M. P. Ram Mohan, Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Sidharth Sharma Jan 2021

Doctrinal Conflict In Foreign Investment Regulation In India: ​​Ntt Docomo Vs. Tata Sons And The Case For “Downside Protection”, M. P. Ram Mohan, Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Sidharth Sharma

Faculty Scholarship

The strategic importance of India as an investment destination for foreign investors is highlighted by ongoing tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, and the recognition that a strong economic relationship with India is in the interest of countries seeking a more stable balance of power in the region. From a policy perspective, India has struggled to balance its own economic interests with the commercial requirements of investors. Rules attempting to strike this balance have created uncertainties that have resulted in investors seeking greater protections, which in turn have triggered additional regulatory responses. The prevalent use of put options by foreign investors ...


Domain-Specific Plurilateral Cooperation As An Alternative To Trade Agreements, Bernard M. Hoekman, Charles F. Sabel Jan 2021

Domain-Specific Plurilateral Cooperation As An Alternative To Trade Agreements, Bernard M. Hoekman, Charles F. Sabel

Faculty Scholarship

At the end of 2017 different groups of WTO members decided to launch talks on four subjects, setting aside the WTO consensus working practice. This paper argues that these ‘joint statement initiatives’ (JSIs) should seek to establish open plurilateral agreements (OPAs) even in instances where the outcome can be incorporated into existing schedules of commitments of participating WTO members. Designing agreements as OPAs provides an institutional framework for collaboration among the responsible national authorities, transparency, mutual review, and learning, as well as alternatives to default WTO dispute settlement procedures which may not be appropriate for supporting cooperation on the matters ...


Briefing Note: Aligning International Investment Agreements With The Sustainable Development Goals, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Nathan Lobel Nov 2020

Briefing Note: Aligning International Investment Agreements With The Sustainable Development Goals, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Nathan Lobel

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently asking fundamental questions about whether and to what extent international investment agreements (IIAs) are consistent with and are helping to advance sustainable development objectives at home and abroad.

A 2019 paper from CCSI examines the alignment of IIAs with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, arguing that while FDI will play an important role in advancing development outcomes, existing treaties must be reformed and future IIAs reimagined in order to achieve deep alignment with the sustainable development goals.

The paper proposes that IIAs should be designed and evaluated with respect to their ability to ...


Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Apr 2020

Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Comments to USTR Re: U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement (April 28, 2020): CCSI, in response to the United States Trade Representative’s request for public comment to inform its approach to a U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement, submitted Comments elaborating on our main points that (1) investor-state dispute settlement should not be included in any U.S.-Kenya agreement and (2) principles that should guide an investment chapter or investment provisions in any such agreement should (a) strategically support cross-border investment that produces positive development outcomes for the U.S. and Kenya, (b) facilitate and support good governance of investment ...


Law In The Time Of Covid-19, Katharina Pistor Apr 2020

Law In The Time Of Covid-19, Katharina Pistor

Books

The COVID-19 crisis has ended and upended lives around the globe. In addition to killing over 160,000 people, more than 35,000 in the United States alone, its secondary effects have been as devastating. These secondary effects pose fundamental challenges to the rules that govern our social, political, and economic lives. These rules are the domain of lawyers. Law in the Time of COVID-19 is the product of a joint effort by members of the faculty of Columbia Law School and several law professors from other schools.

This volume offers guidance for thinking about some the most pressing legal ...


Informing Wto Reform: Dispute Settlement Performance, 1995-2020, Bernard M. Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis, Maarja Saluste Jan 2020

Informing Wto Reform: Dispute Settlement Performance, 1995-2020, Bernard M. Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis, Maarja Saluste

Faculty Scholarship

This paper presents salient facts on the performance of WTO dispute settlement, using an updated dataset on cases adjudicated between 1992 and mid 2020. The dataset provides a comprehensive compilation of information on WTO disputes, including complainants, respondents and third parties; the substantive matters tabled; the WTO provisions invoked; the claims that are accepted or rejected by adjudicating bodies; the time involved to complete the consultation, panel and appeal (Appellate Body) stages; and the identity of panelists and how they were appointed. We highlight elements of the operation of the system that are salient to WTO reform discussions, while drawing ...


Insulating A Wto Investment Facilitation Framework From Isds, George A. Bermann, N. Jansen Calamita, Manjiao Chi, Karl P. Sauvant Jan 2020

Insulating A Wto Investment Facilitation Framework From Isds, George A. Bermann, N. Jansen Calamita, Manjiao Chi, Karl P. Sauvant

Faculty Scholarship

The authors identify several ways in which a WTO investment facilitation framework for development can be insulated from investor-state dispute settlement provisions in international investment agreements, and suggest specific formulations in this respect.


To Ab Or Not To Ab?: Dispute Settlement In Wto Reform, Bernard M. Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis Jan 2020

To Ab Or Not To Ab?: Dispute Settlement In Wto Reform, Bernard M. Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis

Faculty Scholarship

Recent debates on the operation of the WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism have focused primarily on the Appellate Body (AB). We argue that this neglects the first-order issue confronting the rules-based trading system: sustaining the principle of de-politicized conflict resolution that is reflected in the negative consensus rule for adoption of dispute settlement findings. Improving the quality of the work of panels by appointing a roster of full-time professional adjudicators, complemented by reforms to WTO working practices that reduce incentives to resort to formal dispute settlement, can resolve the main issues that led to the AB crisis. Effective, coherent, and ...


Preventing The Bad From Getting Worse: The End Of The World (Trade Organization) As We Know It?, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis Jan 2020

Preventing The Bad From Getting Worse: The End Of The World (Trade Organization) As We Know It?, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis

Faculty Scholarship

Recent survey evidence and proposals made in long-running negotiations to improve WTO dispute settlement procedures illustrate that many stakeholders believe the system needs improvement. The Appellate Body crisis could have been avoided but for the use of consensus as WTO working practice. Resolving the crisis should prove possible because the matter mostly concerns a small number of more powerful WTO members. We make several proposals to revitalize the WTO appellate function but argue that unless the WTO becomes a locus for new rulemaking, re-establishing the appellate function will not prevent a steady decline in the salience of the organization. A ...


Dispute Resolution In Pandemic Circumstances, George A. Bermann Jan 2020

Dispute Resolution In Pandemic Circumstances, George A. Bermann

Faculty Scholarship

The peaceful resolution of disputes is among the most important earmarks of a regime attached to the rule of law. Even in countries in which, for one reason or another, courts do not work especially well, civil peace is of paramount importance. The absence of effective institutions for the administration of justice between and among private parties would spell a high degree of social disorder.

Even in the absence of a crisis such as we are experiencing, justice systems face a number of challenges in this day and age. Does a jurisdiction have a sufficient number of persons qualified to ...


Stakeholder Preferences And Priorities For The Next Wto Director General, Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis, Douglas Nelson, Robert Wolfe Jan 2020

Stakeholder Preferences And Priorities For The Next Wto Director General, Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis, Douglas Nelson, Robert Wolfe

Faculty Scholarship

The WTO is looking for a new Director-General (DG). What does the trade community think is needed? This paper reports on the results of an expert survey undertaken as part of a research project on global trade governance at the European University Institute to solicit views on what WTO members and the international trade community consider the most important attributes of candidates for the position, as well as views on the substantive policy and institutional reform priorities confronting the WTO – and thus the new DG. The results suggest strong support for someone with managerial and political experience, and a professional ...


Making Sense Of The Arbitrator’S Ruling In Ds 316 Ec And Certain Member States – Measures Affecting Trade In Large Civil Aircraft (Article 22.6-Ec): A Jigsaw Puzzle With (At Least) A Couple Missing Pieces, Petros C. Mavroidis, Kamal Saggi Jan 2020

Making Sense Of The Arbitrator’S Ruling In Ds 316 Ec And Certain Member States – Measures Affecting Trade In Large Civil Aircraft (Article 22.6-Ec): A Jigsaw Puzzle With (At Least) A Couple Missing Pieces, Petros C. Mavroidis, Kamal Saggi

Faculty Scholarship

“The U.S. won a $7.5 Billion award from the World Trade Organization against the European Union, who has for many years treated the USA very badly on Trade due to Tariffs, Trade Barriers, and more. This case going on for years, a nice victory”, tweeted President Trump’s on October 3, 2019. The United States (US) won not only the highest amount of retaliation ever adjudicated in the history of the WTO but also an ongoing right to retaliate on an annual basis until such time as the EU had complied by either removing the subsidies it granted ...


Harassment, Workplace Culture, And The Power And Limits Of Law, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2020

Harassment, Workplace Culture, And The Power And Limits Of Law, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

This article asks why it remains so difficult for employers to prevent and respond effectively to harassment, especially sexual harassment, and identifies promising points for legal intervention. It is sobering to consider social-science evidence of the myriad barriers to reporting sexual harassment – from the individual-level and interpersonal to those rooted in society at large. Most of these are out of reach for an employer but workplace culture stands out as a significant arena where employers have influence on whether harassment and other discriminatory behaviors are likely to thrive. Yet employers typically make choices in this area with attention to legal ...


Inconsistency's Many Forms In Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Implications For Reform, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs Nov 2019

Inconsistency's Many Forms In Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Implications For Reform, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Attracting investment in agriculture has been a key policy goal of governments in the global south. Development partners have supported these policies. But what do governments hope to achieve by attracting investment in the agricultural sector? Why are companies interested in investing? What is in it for local communities? And what is the role of lawyers? This primer provides an introduction to some of the key issues that arise in the negotiation of contracts linked to investments in agriculture, and practical guidance for how to approach common issues. Section 1 of this primer outlines the typical goals of three important ...


Securing Adequate Legal Defense In Proceedings Under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven Nov 2019

Securing Adequate Legal Defense In Proceedings Under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI prepared a Scoping Study for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Also available are:

  • A summary version of the study (33 pages)
  • A webinar (March 24, 2020), hosted by CCSI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, discussed the Scoping Study and its findings (see also accompanying slides with speaking notes).
  • A webinar organized by UNCITRAL (April 21, 2020). CCSI presented the Scoping Study. A video link of the webinar along with CCSI’s slides are available in English (with speaking notes) and French at that link. CCSI Senior Fellow Karl Sauvant also presented his ...


Third-Party Rights In Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Options For Reform, Jesse Coleman, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger Jul 2019

Third-Party Rights In Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Options For Reform, Jesse Coleman, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Draft Text Providing For Transparency And Prohibiting Certain Forms Of Third-Party Funding In Investor–State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Lorenzo Cotula, Jane Kelsey Jul 2019

Draft Text Providing For Transparency And Prohibiting Certain Forms Of Third-Party Funding In Investor–State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Lorenzo Cotula, Jane Kelsey

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Draft Treaty Language: Withdrawal Of Consent To Arbitrate And Termination Of International Investment Agreements, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson Jul 2019

Draft Treaty Language: Withdrawal Of Consent To Arbitrate And Termination Of International Investment Agreements, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Uncitral Working Group Iii On Isds Reform: How Cross-Cutting Issues Reshape Reform Options, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Jesse Coleman Jul 2019

Uncitral Working Group Iii On Isds Reform: How Cross-Cutting Issues Reshape Reform Options, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Jesse Coleman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Primer: International Investment Treaties And Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment May 2019

Primer: International Investment Treaties And Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

What Are International Investment Agreements (IIAs)?
IIAs are bilateral or multilateral treaties that commit state-parties to afford specific standards of conduct to foreign investors from the other state-parties. These treaties grant foreign investors certain benefits, including recourse to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) to resolve disputes with host states. Over 3,300 agreements have been concluded worldwide, including NAFTA and the Comprehensive and Progressive TransPacific Partnership.

What is Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)?
IIAs allow foreign investors (individuals and companies) to allege treaty violations by suing states through ad hoc arbitration. Arbitration tribunals are composed of party-appointed (and party-paid) private lawyers. Tribunals ...


Ccsi Submits Written Views To Us Department Of State Regarding Uncitral’S Working Group Iii, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment May 2019

Ccsi Submits Written Views To Us Department Of State Regarding Uncitral’S Working Group Iii, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In connection with the US Department of State’s Annual Advisory Committee on Private International law meeting in May 2019, CCSI submitted written views regarding UNCITRAL’s Working Group III on ISDS reform. CCSI’s comments highlighted specific areas of CCSI’s research as it relates to the US Government and its work within the Working Group. Specifically, US investment treaty negotiating objectives specify that covered foreign investors in the United States should not be accorded greater substantive rights than domestic investors. CCSI highlights the ways in which greater procedural rights afforded under investment treaties to foreign investors in practice ...


The Policy Implications Of Third-Party Funding In Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Guven, Lise Johnson May 2019

The Policy Implications Of Third-Party Funding In Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Guven, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In this Working Paper, CCSI analyzes underexplored yet critical policy issues surrounding the use of third-party funding in ISDS. It considers the costs and benefits of the practice, asks whether it is desirable or undesirable that third-parties be permitted to invest in ISDS claims, and if so, under what circumstances and in order to achieve what objectives, and overviews policy responses, including a total or partial ban and various regulatory responses, that may be appropriate to manage identified impacts.


Alternatives To Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs Apr 2019

Alternatives To Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Proponents often explain support for international investment agreements (IIAs) for their ability to: (1) promote investment flows; (2) depoliticize disputes between investors and states; (3) promote the rule of law; and (4) provide compensation for certain harms to investors – objectives of varying degrees of importance to multinational enterprises, home states, host states, and other stakeholders.

While each of these objectives may seem desirable, it is important to consider what exactly they mean and whether IIAs are optimally tailored to achieve them.

This two-part series aims to consider just that. In the first blog installment, we asked of investor-state dispute settlement ...


Investment Treaties, Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Inequality, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson Apr 2019

Investment Treaties, Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Inequality, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

International investment treaties entrench and exacerbate intra-national inequality by:

  1. Providing stronger substantive legal rights to a certain class of actors that in turn strengthen the legal force of their economic rights and “expectations”, with potentially negative impacts on the competing rights and interests of other stakeholders; and
  2. Providing unequal procedural rights to a certain class of actors, easing their ability, through ISDS, to challenge regulatory measures negatively impacting their economic interests, while other individuals and entities continue to face relatively high legal and practical barriers to using litigation to protect and/or enhance public interest objectives.

This Working Paper, adapted ...


Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2019

Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Without support, communities risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. A lack of community support can also lead to conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies and host governments.

Donors and support providers have found ways to finance support for communities, but such efforts can only extend so far. Promising new opportunities exist for filling the financing gap, yet they will require sustained efforts by a range of actors ...


Burning Down The House? The Appellate Body In The Centre Of The Wto Crisis, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis Jan 2019

Burning Down The House? The Appellate Body In The Centre Of The Wto Crisis, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis

Faculty Scholarship

In December 2019 the WTO Appellate Body (AB) will cease to operate unless the United States stops blocking new appointments. The US argues the AB has exceeded its mandate and has indicated it wants to ensure that the AB performs the role originally assigned to it in 1995. This paper discusses the Uruguay round negotiating history with the view to establish what “going back to 1995” entails. It concludes that this should not be difficult assuming a willingness of the WTO membership to seriously consider the US concerns and acceptance by the US of a commitment by the membership to ...


Wto Dispute Settlement And The Appellate Body Crisis: Insider Perceptions And Members’ Revealed Preferences, Matteo Fiorini, Bernard M. Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis, Maarja Saluste, Robert Wolfe Jan 2019

Wto Dispute Settlement And The Appellate Body Crisis: Insider Perceptions And Members’ Revealed Preferences, Matteo Fiorini, Bernard M. Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis, Maarja Saluste, Robert Wolfe

Faculty Scholarship

The WTO dispute settlement system is in crisis, endangering the future of the organization. The proximate reason for alarm is the dwindling number of Appellate Body (AB) members, the result of the United States blocking new appointments as the terms of sitting members expire. The AB crisis usually is presented as the U.S. against the world. In this paper, we report on the results of a survey of WTO Members’ perceptions of the AB and the role it plays (should play) and contrast this with Members’ revealed preferences in their use of the dispute settlement system and their intervention ...