COVID-19 and Mediation of Investor-State disputes: A way forward

Host states vulnerable to claims by foreign companies for obstructing business and investment with new public health regulations that aim to ‘flatten the curve’ on Covid-19 and protect community wellbeing

An article from Rana Kassas, legal scholar and ISDS specialist

As companies rush to seek relief from the financial burdens and commercial hurdles created by the Covid-19 protective measures imposed by governments (or specifically host state governments for companies operating overseas), a responsive and protective course of appeal is solicited by investors. This is a global phenomenon that is highly time-sensitive, and with each passing week the cases against the conduct of states and the impact this conduct has had (and in some countries, continues to have) on business are maturing. A first wave of pandemic legal action is steadily building up (globally) and is likely to break aggressively. While governments struggle internally to protect public health and safety, corporations target an already overburdened regime via investment arbitration and other litigation avenues. Mediation can play a noteworthy role in providing the investor-state bridge that has the capacity to surpass other legal safeguards by providing an exceptional environment for a personalized and much needed dialog between investor and state in extraordinary times.

Mediation can… [provide] an exceptional environment for a personalized and much needed dialog between investor and state in extraordinary times.

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