2 March 2015
The growth in international Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) is making headline news around the world. In most of these agreements the inclusion of investor-state Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, designed to protect companies from host-state interference, has been hotly negotiated by the governments concerned and increasingly subject to debate in the wider public sphere. Essentially, a system that has been around since the 1960s is only now getting attention from the general public as the system is being used more and more by international businesses, large and small, to respond to a broadening range of government action. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development reveals that in 2013, 56 known new cases were filed by investors against states pursuant to international investment treaties and we are likely to see an increase in this trend.