Briefing: What "greater rights for investors" really means

14 July 2014

EU-US trade: the myths behind the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.

This is a controversial tool that allows companies to use trade agreements to file expensive private lawsuits against host states when democratically-agreed regulatory changes are deemed to affect their investment potential, including their profits.

Among other shortcomings, the system has been criticised for fully relying on three individual arbitrators to interpret the provisions of trade agreements and issue rulings behind closed doors that the signatory states have to comply with. Arbitrators are mostly corporate lawyers,
paid by the hour, who have a financial interest in keeping the system alive. They are not bound by case law and their rulings cannot be appealed, which makes the system highly unpredictable for both society and investors.