ISDS Navigator update: 980+ known investment treaty cases by 31 July 2019

30 Sep 2019

UNCTAD has updated its Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator. The ISDS Navigator is now up-to-date as of 31 July 2019.

Trends in ISDS cases are also covered by the World Investment Report 2019, which is scheduled for discussion at UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board this week (Tuesday, 1 October 2019, 10 – 13 hours).

The ISDS Navigator update covers new cases, awards and arbitrator appointments compiled on the basis of public sources and specialized reporting services.

Key findings of the update:

  • During the first seven months of 2019, investors brought at least 31 known investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases pursuant to international investment agreements (IIAs).
  • On the basis of newly revealed information, the number of known cases for 2018 was adjusted to 76. Additional cases have also surfaced for previous years.
  • As of 31 July 2019, the total number of known treaty-based ISDS arbitrations had reached 983.

As some arbitrations can be kept fully confidential, the actual number of disputes filed in this and previous years is likely to be higher.

Emerging ISDS trends for 2019:

  • The 31 known ISDS cases recorded by the end of July 2019 were brought against 25 countries. They were directed at developing economies (20 cases), transition economies (seven cases) and developed economies (four cases).
  • Developed-country investors initiated most the known cases (21 out of 31). The highest numbers of cases were brought by investors from the United Kingdom (five cases) and the United States (three cases).
  • About 70 per cent of cases relied on IIAs signed in the 1990s or earlier (22 cases). The remaining nine cases were based on treaties signed between 2000 and 2010. The most frequently invoked IIAs were the Energy Charter Treaty (1994) (with three cases), followed by NAFTA (1992) and the OIC Investment Agreement (1981) with two cases each. Two of the three cases initiated under the Energy Charter Treaty were intra-EU disputes.

The total ISDS case count may reach one thousand by the end of 2019.

UNCTAD’s High-level IIA Conference 2019 taking place in Geneva on Wednesday, 13 November, will track progress on the reform of investment dispute settlement and actions to address old-generation treaties (click here to register).