Mediation use in ISDS by Fatma Khalifa*

Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) has been largely dominated by arbitration as a means of dispute settlement. The problems encountered by parties in ISDS cases and the concerns voiced by multiple stake holders call for attempting new mechanisms, such as mediation, for settling Investor State Disputes (ISD). Mediation in ISDS is rather a new combination of terms. In this paper I will first identify mediation (1), compare it to other dispute settlement mechanisms (2), identify the players in the mediation process and the consent of the Parties (3), briefly explain the mediation process (4), and finally conclude by shedding some remarks on the current status and proposals for a way forward. Continue reading

South Africa’s Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill: A Brief Outline, by Muhammad Mustaqeem De Gama*


The Cabinet decision of 20 July 2010 specified that an inter-ministerial work group should commence work on an investment protection act for South Africa. Such an act would incorporate, codify and interpret core international law concepts and clarify the level of protection that investors may expect in South Africa. On 1 November 2013 the draft Bill on the Promotion and Protection of Investment [NOTICE 1087 OF 2013 in Government Gazette (GG) No. 36995] (hereinafter “the Bill”) was published for public comment. The notice provided for a three month public comment period. This period came to an end on 31 January 2014. The Department of Trade and Industry is currently assessing the public comments and will introduce the Bill to Parliament as soon as the required technical and constitutional processes have been completed. Continue reading

Africa-China Bilateral Investment Treaties: A Critique by Dr. Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile*

This Article was first published in the Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 35(1), 2013.  If you wish to make references to the article please follow the pagination in the Michigan Journal of International Law. 


The purpose of this Article is to draw attention to, raise questions about, and generate discussions regarding the emerging norms, legal context, and long-term development-implications of South-South foreign direct investment (“FDI”) and South-South bilateral investment treaties (“BIT”). This Article seeks to refocus the discourse about FDI and BITs on developing countries in their role as exporters of capital and in the context of the much-touted new geography of investment. Can South-South BITs play a positive role in promoting development in sub-Saharan Africa any more than the Africa-North BITs? Is China concluding development-focused BITs with countries in Africa? The Article identifies the BITs between China and countries in Africa, analyzes the main provisions and the development-dimension of these BITs, and examines the extent to which they differ from model BITs used by Western countries. Continue reading

South Africa’s approach to the implementation of its Investment Policy Framework by Mustaqeem De Gama & Rafia De Gama*

  1. Background

In July 2010[1], the South African Cabinet adopted a new investment policy framework which was aimed at modernising and strengthening the country’s investment regime.[2] Five core measures were mandated by Cabinet for the implementation of the new policy framework: (i) development of foreign investment legislation;[3] (ii) review and termination of existing old generation BITs; (iii) development of a new model BIT; (iv) BITs will only be entered into on the basis of compelling economic and political reasons; and (v) the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to oversee the implementation of these measures. Continue reading

South Africa’s Foreign Investment Regulation: A revisit, by Azwimpheleli Langalanga*

History of South Africa’s BIT regime

South Africa emerged from international isolation in 1994 after ushering in a majority governance system. It was the last country in the African continent to gain freedom. Most countries which had gained independence during the decolonisation period had engaged in economic nationalism. In Southern Africa, Zambia was one of them. South Africa as the last African country to attain political freedom had to signal to the world and foreign investors in particular that it was a safe investment destination.[1] Continue reading

The OHADA Celebrates its 20th Anniversary, by Antonio Delgado

On 17 October 2013, the Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) or OHADA celebrated its 20th anniversary under the presidency of Burkina Faso. A series of events have been organised to commemorate the event, including a meeting of business law experts in Ouagadougou to discuss the achievements and the future prospects of the organisation.[1] Continue reading

New ICSID Statistics (2013-2) made public, by José Ángel Rueda

On 31 July 2013 ICSID issued its updated caseload statistics on cases registered and administered by the Centre.[1] As of 30 June 2013 ICSID had registered 433 cases under the 1965 ICSID Convention and the 1978 Additional Facility Rules (AFR). It had registered 14 cases in 2013 until the closure of that document.[2]  Continue reading

South Africa denounces BIT with Spain, by José Ángel Rueda

On 23 June 2013 South Africa sent a notification to Spain in order to denounce their BIT.[1]

The BIT was signed ad referendum in Pretoria on 30 September 1998 and entered into force on 23 December 1999.[2] According to Article XII(1) the BIT was in force for an initial period of 10 years (until 23 December 2009) and from then onwards it was in force for consecutive 2-year periods (the first one, from 24 December 2009 until 23 December 2011; the second one, from 24 December 2011 until 23 December 2013; and so on).

Article XII(2) allows any State party to denounce the BIT by a notification in writing six months before the date of expiry of the BIT. As the second 2-year period referred to above lasts until 23 December 2013, South Africa had until 23 June 2013 to send its notification. It did so on time.

In any event, as usual in BIT practice, Article XII(3) contains a survival clause whereby the BIT will be in force for an additional 10-year period from 23 December 2013 for all investments made or acquired before that date.

We understand this move by South Africa is related to a hot debate about BITs within that country.[3] We will be happy to receive comments from South Africa on this topic.[4]

[1] See, footnote 7 (in Spanish).

[2] See BOE (Spanish official gazette) no. 26, 31 January 2000.

[3] See “Bilateral Investment Treaty Policy Framework Review”, Executive Summary of Government Position Paper, Pretoria, June 2009, Government Gazette, 7 July 2009.

[4] See a previous post by Azwimphelele Langalanga, “South African Courts and the Expropriation Conundrum: Caveat Foreign Investor”, 31 May 2013, at

South African Courts and the Expropriation Conundrum: Caveat Foreign Investor, by Azwimphelele Langalanga


A milestone decision was passed down by South Africa’s premier court seated in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. This was in the case of Agri South Africa v. Minister for Minerals and Energy.[1] It is a case testing the legality of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) 28 of 2002 (as amended), particularly its black empowerment provisions. Simply put this piece of legislation had the effect of vesting all mineral ownership to the state. Before it came into being, mineral resources underground were owned by the land owners who in most instances happened to be farmers.[2] These farmers had inter alia the right to exploit the minerals and to lease such mining rights to anyone on their terms. The claimants challenged it on the basis that it expropriated their property. The court ruled that there is a difference between expropriation and deprivation. And basically provided that the concept of indirect expropriation did not apply in South African law.

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Signature of Canada-Nigeria FIPA, by José Ángel Rueda

Here in Europe we are longing for the publication by the European Union of the list of pre-2009 BITs that its 27 Member States want to maintain in force or permit to enter into force with third States pursuant to Articles 2 and 4(2) of Regulation 1219/2012.[1] This list will clarify the status of some 1,200 BITs entered into by EU Member States between 1959 and 2009 – undoubtedly a major event for international investment law.[2]  Continue reading

UNCTAD publishes new statistics on investment treaty arbitration, by José Ángel Rueda

UNCTAD has published a new edition of its statistics on investment treaty arbitration. Despite its title, “Recent Developments in Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)”,[1] it just refers to investment treaty arbitration, as stated above, because an inquiry on investment disputes arising out solely of a contract between a foreign investor and a State entity is almost impossible to achieve (arbitration courts apply strict confidentiality on these matters).   Continue reading

ICSID Case Commentary: Tethyan Copper Company Pty. Limited v. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (ICSID Case No ARB/12/1), Decision on Claimant’s Request for Provisional Measures, 13 December 2012, by Nida Mahmood


On 29th July 1993, BHP Minerals International Exploration Inc. (BHP) and the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA), a statutory corporation of the Province of Balochistan in Pakistan, entered into a Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) for exploration of deposits of gold, copper, and other minerals in the Chagai district of Balochistan.  However, pursuant to two subsequent contracts, (i) an option Agreement and (ii) an Alliance Agreement with BHP, the Claimant, Tethyan Copper Company Pty Limited, a company constituted and registered under the laws of Australia and owned in equal shares by Antofagasta Plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom with its headquarters in Chile, and Barrick Gold Corporation, a company incorporated in Canada, took over from BHP the exploration activities in the Chagai Hills exploration area. Continue reading

Launch of FTA talks between the EU and Morocco formally announced, by José Ángel Rueda

On 1 March 2013 José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, paid an official visit to Morocco. At the end of the round of meetings held with H.M. King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Mr. Barroso formally announced the launch of negotiations between the EU and Morocco for the conclusion of a so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement or DCFTA (English for “Accord de Libre Échange Complet et Approfondi”).[1]

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Implications of Key BIT Provisions, by Nida Mahmood

The aim of this paper is to review all the protective provisions found mostly in all BITs, whether coming from customary international law or enunciated through the BIT itself in order to illustrate the implications of those provisions so that a proper understanding of the obligations imposed therein on the host States can be illustrated.

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IMF Managing Director calls for openness for inward FDI in the Maghreb, by José Ángel Rueda

During the last stop of her recent African tour IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde attended the fifth regional conference of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Maghreb region in Nouakchott, Mauritania where she again called for more foreign direct investment (FDI) towards Africa, this time to the Maghreb.[1]

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