REUTERS | Stephanie Mcgehee

Investment protection has become a linchpin of investment policies adopted by both developing and developed Middle Eastern jurisdictions over the past two to three decades. In the light of steadily diminishing oil reserves, the oil-rich nations in particular have become acutely aware of the need to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for their sustained economic development in a post-oil era. As a result, most Middle Eastern countries have concluded both bilateral and multilateral investment treaties (BITs and MITs), as well as free trade agreements (FTAs) of regional and international reach. Some, in particular Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have adopted foreign investment laws. Investment laws typically afford foreign investors a number of:

  • Basic, yet fundamental, investment guarantees, such as protection from expropriation, free transfer of the investment and repatriation of income.
  • Investment incentives, such as tax exemptions and exemptions from custom duties.

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REUTERS | Toby Melville

Thomson Reuters Legal Business published a report in July entitled, The impact of Brexit on dispute resolution clauses, setting out the results of its survey which asked 94 respondents about their current and future plans for jurisdiction and choice of law clauses. Notably for London arbitration practitioners, the study found that 10% of respondents were now providing for arbitration rather than court litigation in their contracts following the Brexit referendum result and, of this number, 63% favoured arbitration in England. In addition, 20% of the group of respondents that are yet to make any changes to their contracts but may look to do so in the near future also stated that they may opt for arbitration over litigation in their contracts. Again, England was the preferred seat. Continue reading

REUTERS | Kevin Lamarque

Just as the increasing use of law clerks in the US court system has led to increased academic study and public discussion of their role and function, so too has the increased use of tribunal secretaries in international arbitration promoted discussion about their use and role. However, the nature of international arbitrations is such that issues regarding the use of tribunal secretaries are different from those regarding the use of judicial assistants or law clerks. Continue reading

REUTERS | Jason Lee

Since its launch in 2013, China’s high-profile Belt and Road Initiative has gained considerable momentum. This blog considers the types of disputes likely to emerge from the initiative and the extent to which the recent efforts to “internationalise” its domestic dispute resolution mechanisms will help China capitalise on dispute resolution work arising from the Belt and Road Initiative, now or in the future. Continue reading

REUTERS | Yiannis Kourtoglou

In Nori Holdings Ltd v Public Joint-Stock Co Bank Otkritie Financial Corporation, the claimants’ application for a final anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings in Russia and Cyprus met with mixed success. While the court was willing to grant the anti-suit injunction to restrain Russian court proceedings, it refused to do the same in relation to proceedings in Cyprus, holding that the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU’s) judgment in West Tankers, on so-called intra-EU anti-suit injunctions, remained good law. Continue reading

REUTERS | Darrin Zammit

The short answer is no. Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) are international treaties between two states where the states provide investors with a range of protections when they make foreign direct investments. But it is a little known fact that some of the most popular places in which investment vehicles are incorporated do not provide investors with these important protections. In other words, companies incorporated with tax efficiency in mind may not have important protections when they make investments internationally. Continue reading

REUTERS | Stefan Wermuth

Although located at the heart of Europe, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union. As such, from a Swiss law perspective, EU law is considered as a res inter alios acta (with the exception of the references to EU law contained in the 120 bilateral agreements entered into between Switzerland and the EU, where EU law has become part of Swiss law). Continue reading

REUTERS | Gregg Newton

The Singapore High Court decision in China Machine New Energy Corp v Jaguar Energy Guatemala LLC and another raises a number of points of wider significance for the arbitration community.

This post focuses on the procedural implications of the parties’ agreement to the expedited arbitration of a complex dispute (in a particularly short time frame) and its impact on the duty of the tribunal to ensure that due process is observed. Continue reading

REUTERS | Alister Doyle

Climate change has emerged as a (if not “the”) relevant factor in a number of high-profile litigation disputes in recent years. Those disputes range from the commercial to the personal, to the public interest: from disputes arising out of option agreements for the trade of the old system of “emission reduction units”, to cases dealing with personal property damage caused by climate change related events; to claims urging governments to do more to prevent climate change. Most (if not all) of these claims are being dealt with in litigation (not arbitration), in the public domain. In the author’s view, however, arbitration, and in particular investment treaty arbitration, could well play an important role in future. Continue reading

REUTERS | Maxim Shemetov

Introduction

Since the end of the Cold War, economic sanctions have become one of the primary foreign policy tools employed by governments to force change in a regime’s policies and practices, particularly as governments seek to avoid the high cost of military conflict. Sanctions are now commonly used to prevent or punish proliferation of nuclear weapons, terrorism-related activities, human rights violations and the narcotics trade. Continue reading