CIArb News

CIArb’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement debate series continues to garner interest around the world

02 Aug 2019

As part of the Institute’s contribution to the ongoing debate on the future of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), CIArb have instigated the ongoing panel debate series “Evolution, not Revolution”. Following the resounding success of the inaugural debate held in London in February, we have two sessions arranged this Summer in both London and Singapore. As always, the discussions are timed to coincide with the next session of UNCITRAL Working Group III (ISDS), at which CIArb is a vocal contributor.

Across the arbitration community and beyond, ISDS reform is currently very high on the agenda. Ever since the furore surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership some years ago, the current system has been under sustained political scrutiny. The debate has escalated further in light of the EU Achmea ruling last year, and the European Commission’s vigorous advocacy of the wholesale abolition of ISDS in favour of a permanent Multilateral Investment Court (MIC).

By undermining the predictability and credibility of the system, such an extreme move could have disastrous consequences for global investment. ISDS is a fundamental pillar of the global trade and investment framework, and any changes must be considered carefully.

In contrast to the revolutionary approach supported by proponents of the MIC, CIArb have consistently argued for a more measured, iterative process whereby specific aspects of the system are addressed and reformed in turn. This was the approach set out in our ISDS Discussion Papers authored by Mercy McBrayer MCIArb, and through the ‘Evolution, not Revolution’ debate series we aim to develop comprehensive proposals for constructive, meaningful reform.

Our aim is to include as many different perspectives in the debate as possible. To that end, our panels include a range of expert voices, from practitioners and academics to arbitrators, state representatives and investors. In addition, we are committed to incorporating as many regional perspectives as possible so that any proposals we make are truly global in scope. This was the impetus behind our Singapore event in August, and it is why we plan to expand the series to even more regions in 2020.

Lewis Johnston, CIArb Head of Policy:

“ISDS is a top priority for CIArb. Maintaining and improving the system is vital, not only for the sustainability of global investment flows but also because any developments in ISDS will have repercussions across all areas of arbitration, including international commercial arbitration. By initiating the “Evolution, not Revolution” debate series, we hope to bring our reform proposals to as wide an audience as possible and elicit as wide a range of opinions as possible.”

Upcoming "Evolution, Not Revolution: ISDS Reform at UNCITRAL Working Group III" events:

22 August 2019, Singapore 
3 September 2019, London 

 

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