Reports Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)


Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in trade agreements allow foreign investors to sue national governments for measures which harm their profits.

ISDS cases take place in private arbitration courts with high levels of secrecy and can cost the taxpayer billions. The mechanism offers sweeping rights to investors with no equivalent for domestic companies or communities facing adverse effects of business malpractice.

The government has previously said that the idea of banning ISDS is “nonsensical”. In the previous Trade Bill debates in the Lords, the government made clear that it was willing to replicate agreements including ISDS. We can therefore assume that the Government is open to including ISDS in post-Brexit trade deals.

This parliamentary briefing looks in more detail at the following aspects of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS):

  • The challenges ISDS poses
  • Parliamentary opportunities
  • Notable ISDS cases
  • Summary of arguments against ISDS
  • Is reform possible?