Multilateral investor-state arbitration court: assessment of the UNCITRAL process and its achievements in light of civil society recommendations

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Practical information

  1. Composition of the study group
  2. Administrators / Assistant in charge: Gunilla Sandberg Fevre-Burdy / Judit Landesz
  3. Contact


In the light of the critics of the traditional system of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and to pressures from civil society on the need for reform, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III received a mandate to reform ISDS, taking a three-stage approach: (1) identifying all concerns around ISDS, (2) testing the appetite for reform, and (3) drawing up proposals to replace the ISDS provisions of the 1 400 existing bilateral agreements between Member States and third countries. As a permanent observer, the EU tabled a proposal to set up a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC). Many other proposals are on the table.

With this own-initiative opinion, the EESC will take stock of how the EU might have incorporated earlier EESC recommendations in its reflections. It will also contribute to the EU's reflections on the establishment of a multilateral framework capable of ensuring a balance between the legitimate right of states to legislate in accordance with democratic rules, and the protection of investments.

Looking at the work of the UNCITRAL working group III, this opinion will provide an assessment of the process, as well as the achievements and shortcomings from a civil society point of view.