Investor State Dispute Settlement: Institutionalising "Corporate Exceptionality"

Authors

  • Pablo Leandro Ciocchini University of Liverpool in Singapore
  • Stefanie Khoury University of Liverpool

Keywords:

ISDS, corporate exceptionality, international investment arbitration, excepcionalidad empresarial, arbitraje internacional de inversiones

Abstract

This paper scrutinises the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which allows foreign investors to sue host governments for any regulations that might directly or indirectly affect private investments. It gives investors rights over host-states – and local populations – in international arbitration tribunals. The focus of this article is a critical examination of how the ISDS institutionalises a framework of exceptionality that is characteristic of neoliberal capitalism; one that centres upon the institutionalisation of subjecting public regulation to the rationality of the market. We argue that this privatised quasi-legal arena is incompatible with the rule of law, human rights and socially emancipatory practices. What this reveals is that the political and economic dynamics that mobilise and shape international investment law are characterised by capitalist class relations. The article concludes with some reflections upon the marketization of public regulation through the ISDS, where profitability and cost-reduction are prioritised over human and environmental rights.

El artículo examina el mecanismo de Arbitraje de Diferencias Estado-Inversor (ISDS), que permite que inversores extranjeros demanden a los gobiernos anfitriones por cualquier regulación que pueda afectar las inversiones privadas, y que otorga derechos a los inversores sobre los estados anfitriones y sobre las poblaciones locales en tribunales internacionales. Se realiza un análisis crítico de cómo el ISDS institucionaliza un marco de excepcionalidad característico del capitalismo neoliberal, y que somete la legislación pública a la racionalidad de los mercados. Argumentamos que este ámbito privatizado cuasi-legal es incompatible con el imperio de la ley, con los derechos humanos y con prácticas de desarrollo social. Esto pone de manifiesto que las dinámicas políticas y económicas que modelan el derecho internacional de inversiones se caracterizan por relaciones capitalistas de clase. Se concluye con unas reflexiones sobre la mercantilización de regulaciones públicas a través del ISDS.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-0970

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Published

14-03-2018

How to Cite

Ciocchini, P. L. and Khoury, S. (2018) “quot”;, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 8(6), pp. 976–1000. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/998 (Accessed: 2 July 2022).