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Investor-state dispute settlement system "lacks many procedural safeguards fundamental" to rule of law, says law professor

"In Pro-Corporate Tribunals We Trust", 4 May 2015

In 2011, Australia passed a tobacco-control law to discourage smoking. It required cigarettes to be sold in plain packages with prominent warnings, with brand information relegated to the bottom of the box…After the country’s highest court upheld the constitutionality of the anti-smoking law, tobacco giant Philip Morris claimed that it violated the company’s corporate rights and launched a suit using…investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)…The ISDS system is not new…but the tobacco cases represent a growing trend. More than 50 ISDS cases were brought each year between 2011 and 2013; this annual figure exceeds the total for the first three decades in which the mechanisms were available. Foreign investors — typically multinational corporations — that claim their investments were compromised by government policies have won massive sums…The problem is that the ISDS system lacks many procedural safeguards fundamental to the rule of law.

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