• Dansk
  • NL
  • EN
  • FI
  • FR
  • DE
  • EL
  • IT
  • NO
  • PL
  • PT
  • RO
  • SL
  • ES
  • SV

Lobby group EFILA’s stake in investment arbitration

In response to the criticism of the controversial investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the proposed EU-US trade deal TTIP, a number of law firms recently founded a think tank designed to protect the current investment arbitration system: the European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration (EFILA). This is not surprising - the law firms and corporate lawyers who are the main beneficiaries of the booming investment arbitration system stand to gain if ISDS is included in TTIP.

Read the full report: efila_report-web.pdf.

In January 2015 the European Commission published the first results of a public consultation with the highest number of responses in the history of the EU – more than 145,000 submissions by citizens. What had raised the interest and opposition of so many European citizens? A secretive legal system that had been virtually unknown to the general public a few years ago: the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, or ISDS.

Within only a couple of years, ISDS had turned from a system known only to few legal specialists to the most hotly debated topic of the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the US – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP.

Critics have pointed out the many flaws of the ISDS mechanism that allow corporations to sue governments for regulations and laws passed to protect people’s health and the environment. Political groups in the European Parliament and national governments have called for the exclusion of ISDS from the EU-US trade agreement.

The debate has not passed unnoticed by the law firms and corporate lawyers who are the main beneficiaries of the booming investment arbitration system and stand to gain if ISDS is included in TTIP. In response to the criti- cism of the ISDS system, a number of international arbitration law firms recently founded a think tank designed to protect the current ISDS system: The European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration (EFILA).

While EFILA’s stated aim is to “foster an objective debate” around ISDS, the law firms that founded it and the individuals on EFILA’s boards have clear vested interests in the current investment arbitration system – leading to serious doubts that its policy recommendations will be little more than pro-arbitration industry propaganda.

EFILA seems to be an exemplary case of a special interest group, trying to protect and expand a system highly beneficial to its members at the expense of the general public. A broad group of public interest advocates, ranging from consumer organisations and trade unions to environmental NGOs and public health groups, have spoken out against ISDS. Businesses, governments and academics, too, have called for the exclusion of ISDS from TTIP. EFILA’s position thus seems to solely represent the interests of the investment arbitration industry.

This briefing takes a closer look at EFILA, and the law firms and individuals linked to it, to show that EFILA represents an attempt by the arbitration industry to fend off public pressure and much-needed changes to the current system of international investment law.

The report: efila_report-web.pdf

Attached files: 

Help us stay independent

We are a small team that works fully independently of funding from the EU, governments, political parties and corporations. Every single donation helps us fight the hold of Big Business over the EU.

Donate

Comments

Submitted by Andrea Steingruber (not verified) on

Interesting contribution. I have myself written on investment arbitration.

What has surprised me about EFILA is that two of the founders of this European interest group are US law firms (White&Case and Sherman&Sterling)

Kind regards, Andrea

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Get our monthly newsletter

Follow us on social media

Progressive municipalist city governments from Barcelona, to Naples, to Grenoble have introduced radical democratic programmes to tranmsform the EU from the bottom up. Despite facing obstacles from neoliberal policies from the EU and member states, these cities are finding ways to bypass many of these hurdles.

All eyes may be on the 'Brexit' process, but far more attention needs to be given to the way in which post-Brexit EU-UK trade negotiations are being conducted. While corporate interests seek to shape the future trade deal in their own interests, the public remains in the dark.

To classify as strongly and widely as possible, or not to – that is the EU’s question on titanium dioxide right now. The chemical is found in many everyday items including sunscreen and paint and is a “suspected carcinogen”. Discussion of the classification issue are underway, and what is already clear is that the controversy about corporate lobbying on this file is making some member states think again.

Excessive corporate influence over policy-making remains a serious threat to the public interest across Europe and at the EU level, warns a new report by our partner organisation ALTER-EU.

Lobby Planet 2017 banner