Legal Business

Bit between the teeth



ICSID secretary general Meg Kinnear talks annulment, case administration and the globalisation of treaty arbitration with Baker & McKenzie partners Grant Hanessian and Teddy Baldwin

That more cases were filed at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in 2013 than during the first 24 years of its existence reflects the extent to which treaty arbitration is now arguably the fastest-growing area of international dispute resolution. Notwithstanding criticism from some NGOs that treaty arbitration is biased in favour of investors, the fact is that governments prevail in more than half of all treaty cases, and it is clear that a host state’s ability to attract foreign direct investment is diminished substantially unless it offers a system under which to enforce investors’ rights. Arbitration under the ICSID rules remains by far the most popular for investment treaty disputes because its awards may be enforced without recourse to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) and because of the strength of the ICSID secretariat and the quality of the arbitrators it appoints. Some users do criticise the length of time it takes ICSID tribunals to render awards – at least 20 of which have been issued five or more years after the filing request.