The European Commission has approved its proposal for a new and transparent system for resolving disputes between investors and states – the Investment Court System. This new system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in all ongoing and future EU investment negotiations, including the EU-US talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The proposal for an Investment Court System builds on the substantial input received from the European Parliament, Member States, national parliaments and stakeholders through the public consultation held on ISDS. It is intended to ensure that all actors can have full trust in the system. Built around the same key elements as domestic and international courts, it enshrines governments’ right to regulate and ensures transparency and accountability. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “With our proposals for a new Investment Court System, we are breaking new ground. The new Investment Court System will be composed of fully qualified judges, proceedings will be transparent, and cases will be decided on the basis of clear rules. With this new system, we protect the governments’ right to regulate, and ensure that investment disputes will be adjudicated in full accordance with the rule of law“. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström added: “Today, we’re delivering on our promise – to propose a new, modernised system of investment courts, subject to democratic principles and public scrutiny. We want to establish a new system built around the elements that make citizens trust domestic or international courts. I’m making this proposal public at the same time that I send it to the European Parliament and the Member States. It’s very important to have an open and transparent exchange of views on this widely debated issue.” The main elements of reform are outlined in a press release here, a reader’s guide on the reform proposals is available here.
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