Additional Comments – Report 188: Investments Uruguay, ISDS UN Convention

Peter Khalil MP, Deputy Chair; Senator Tim Ayres; Senator Catryna Bilyk; Senator Marielle Smith; Kate Thwaites MP; Josh Wilson MP
The Investments Uruguay Agreement and the ISDS UN Convention make important reforms to the ISDS process to ensure greater public and investor confidence in Australia’s trading and international business arrangements.
Despite this, the Labor members of the committee are concerned the lack of consultation may have limited the scope of reforms. In particular, a number of external stakeholders such as trade unions have raised concerns regarding the following ISDS features:
The capacity for temporary judges to be engaged as counsel in other ISDS proceedings, otherwise referred to as ‘double-hatting’
The lack of precedence to guide decision making by judges, inconsistent with the rule of law and Australia’s judicial principles. The potential for inconsistency in decision making threatens public and investor confidence in the ISDS process and international business arrangements as a result
The inability to appeal a decision, also inconsistent with the rule of law and Australia’s judicial principles
The Labor members of the Committee believe that Report 188 should include recommendations which, in consultation with relevant external stakeholders, address the aforementioned concerns.
Peter Khalil MP
Senator Tim Ayres
Senator Catryna Bilyk
Senator Marielle Smith
Kate Thwaites MP
Josh Wilson MP

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