2012 sees rise in investment arbitration cases registered by the ICSID
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) recently released the 2012 figures for investment arbitration cases administered by the institution. The figures point to a significant rise in new registered cases. Compared to the 37 cases registered in 2011 (33 arbitrations under the ICSID Convention and 4 under the Additional Facility Rules), 2012 came to an end with 48 new cases, of which only 8 were subject to the Additional Facility Rules.
Bilateral investment treaties formed the basis for the ICSID’s jurisdiction in most of the cases commenced in 2012 (67%), while investors invoked the investment contract signed with the host state in just 13% of all cases.
By economic sector, the lion’s share of disputes involved raw materials, specifically in the oil, gas and mining sector (28%), followed by the financial and telecommunications sectors (10% apiece).
In terms of the geographic distribution of cases, and as part of a continuing trend, countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (26%) and South America (24% of new cases) were among those most involved in arbitrations requested by investors. Indeed, South America was the region of the country on the receiving end of the highest number of requests for arbitration in 2012: Venezuela (9 requests for arbitration).
Spanish arbitrators continue to play a major role in ICSID arbitration cases, with 2012 seeing the appointment of 7 Spanish arbitrators, surpassed only by Canada (9 appointments), France (10), the UK (12) and the US (18).
Judging from these results, it seems clear that arbitration remains a popular choice as a mechanism for dispute resolution between investors and host countries. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that ICSID investment arbitration cases account for just part of the total number of investment arbitrations worldwide, since ad hoc arbitration proceedings are also conducted, normally under the UNCITRAL rules, and other institutions such as the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce or the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce are also accustomed to administering arbitrations of this type.