Briefing: Multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above recommendation, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on International Trade. The recommendation aims to pave the way for the creation of a framework for the resolution of international investment disputes. The IA notes that foreign investors and host countries have settled their investment disputes through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS, ad hoc arbitration) since the 1950s. In recent years, concerns have been voiced about the ISDS, in particular in the context of the negotiation processes of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (EU-USA) and of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) (EU-Canada). Based on the results of the public consultation carried out in 2014, the European Commission presented a plan in May 2015 to reform the investment resolution system. It comprises, as a first step, an institutionalised court system (Investment Court System, ICS) for future EU trade and investment agreements and, as a second step, the establishment of an ‘international investment Court’. According to the IA report, ‘since 2016 the Commission has actively engaged with a large number of partner countries both at a technical and political level to further the reform of the ISDS system and to build a consensus for the initiative of a permanent multilateral investment Court’ (IA, p. 6). In its resolutions of 8 July 2015 on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and of 6 April 2011 on the future European international investment policy, Parliament noted the need to reform the investment dispute settlement mechanism. In its resolution of 5 July 2016 on the future strategy for trade and investment, it supported the aim of creating a ‘multilateral solution to investment disputes’.

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Source: European Parliament

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