Last April at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, the Working Group 3 convened under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) discussed the conditions for a possible reform of the international investment dispute settlement system.

Investment disputes, between foreign investors and host States, are decided by international investment arbitration tribunals. Investment arbitration, however, is currently facing stark criticism from both States and the civil society. Investment arbitration has been criticized because of its lack of transparency, for excessive costs and, above all, for its impact on State’s power to adopt measures in the public interest.

Some reforms currently under discussion envisage adjustments to the existing system, for example the implementation of an ethic code to be applied to arbitrators. Others, such as the EU, suggest the creation of a permanent court for investment dispute settlement.

Further developments on this subject are expected from the next Working Group 3 meeting that will take place in Vienna.


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avv. Sondra Faccio