Can We Still Be Friends? London As A Global Seat Of Arbitration Post-Brexit

broken Wedding Rings symbolize the BrexitMichael McIlwrath, Global Chief Litigation Counsel for GE Oil & Gas opened his recent article An Unamicable Separation: Brexit Consequences for London as a Premier Seat of International Dispute Resolution in Europe with the following quote, attributed to the most prolific of all authors, ‘unknown’:

“I try not to think of divorce as failing at marriage but rather winning at bitterness and resentment.” Continue reading

Some Thoughts On CETA

European Union and CanadaHigh drama this week, with CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU, first blocked by the Walloons, and then rescued following some marathon diplomacy (or inconsequential fudge, depending on your perspective). Had the Walloon parliament voted against the agreement, Belgium would have been prevented from agreeing to it, thus the unanimous agreement of EU states needed to sign would have failed, and so would the ratification of the deal. Continue reading

Secrets of a Global Super Court – a second look

tuer-kl-webRegardless if you see it as being catastrophic or simply weird, for many and varied reasons, 2016 looks set to be a most memorable year. For arbitration lawyers, it could be marked as the year in which investor-state arbitration became a talking point. How do we know this? Well, because 2016 was the year in which BuzzFeed – otherwise known for pop culture, listicles, and lots and lots of cats – published a four part series on investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), entitled Secrets of a Global Super Court.

Amplifying the sense of injustice suggested by the title, the article opens with an invitation to “Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Unsurprisingly the tone of the articles is unremittingly hostile to investor-state arbitration, laying out criticisms that it is overly favourable to corporations, that its decisions are opaque. That allowing lawyers to shuffle between arbitrator and counsel roles is akin to them having a “vested interest in expanding the court’s authority”, that shell companies are being formed specifically to take advantage of differing international treaties, and that lawsuits, or the threat of them, is at the same time placing an unfair burden on poorer countries and placing a regulatory chill on their future social and environmental policies.  Continue reading