Investment court system a ‘reasonable compromise’ for arbitrating disputes between states and foreign investors

PACE has backed the proposed Investment Court System (ICS) as a “reasonable compromise” for arbitrating in commercial disputes between states and foreign investors.

While members of the Assembly “disagree on the need for ICS between developed countries”, all agreed that if such courts are used they should operate in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a resolution, based on a report by Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the parliamentarians said such courts should be “fair and transparent”, with impartial judges, public submissions and giving all parties the right to be heard.

Disputes should also be resolved in a way that left states free to “regulate economic activity in order to protect the environment, public health and safety, and human rights […] without discrimination between domestic or foreign companies”.

As a further safeguard, states should be able to exit from such investment courts if they wished, and companies should only be able to sue for actual damages incurred.