IHRP Announces new partnership with Center for International Environmental Law

Monday, November 12, 2012

The IHRP is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Washington D.C.-based Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) to help make sure human rights concerns are not left out of international business law.

International investment arbitration is a growing and controversial field of international law, and its importance in Canada is greater than ever with the signing of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Canada and China. International investment arbitration allows corporations to take investment disputes with other states to arbitrators who issue binding awards.

In some cases, the decisions in these cases can have important human rights consequences. The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a leading arbitral institution in the field, allows non-disputing parties to make submissions to the tribunal concerning the public interest at stake in a given decision — that is, to intervene in the dispute. NGOs have intervened in several ICSID decisions to bring to light the human rights issues in these decisions.

However, many human rights and environmental NGOs are strangers to the complex world of ICSID arbitration and often have limited access to legal counsel.  That is why the IHRP and CIEL are partnering to produce a plain-language guide aimed at NGOs hoping to advance public interest interventions at ICSID arbitrations. The guide will help organizations attain intervener status and maximize the effectiveness of their submissions, all while reducing their legal costs by eliminating the need to consult counsel at every step of the way.

The guide is scheduled to be released early in 2013. IHRP Director Renu Mandhane, Professor David Schneiderman and CIEL Counsel Marcos Orellana are overseeing the project. 2L Benjamin is leading the effort, with the assistance of Jennifer Liu (2L) and Ramin Wright (2L).