Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 16 December 2013
[on the report of the Sixth Committee (A/68/462)]
68/109. United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration and Arbitration Rules (as revised in 2010, with new article 1, paragraph 4, as adopted in 2013)
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 2205 (XXI) of 17 December 1966, by which it established the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law with a mandate to further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade and in that respect to bear in mind the interests of all peoples, in particular those of developing countries, in the extensive development of international trade,
Recognizing the value of arbitration as a method of settling disputes that may arise in the context of international relations and the wide use of arbitration for the settlement of treaty-based investor-State disputes,
Recalling its resolutions 31/98 of 15 December 1976 and 65/22 of 6 December 2010, in which it recommended the use of the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law,1
Bearing in mind that the Arbitration Rules are widely used for the settlement of treaty-based investor-State disputes,
Recognizing the need for provisions on transparency in the settlement of such treaty-based investor-State disputes to take account of the public interest involved in such arbitrations,
Believing that rules on transparency in treaty-based investor-State arbitration would contribute significantly to the establishment of a harmonized legal framework for a fair and efficient
Noting that the Commission, at its forty-sixth session, adopted the Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration2 and amended the Arbitration Rules as revised in 2010 to include, in a new article 1, paragraph 4, a reference to the Rules on Transparency,3
Noting also that the Rules on Transparency are available for use in investor-State arbitrations initiated under rules other than the Arbitration Rules or in ad hoc proceedings,
Noting further that the preparation of the Rules on Transparency was the subject of due deliberation in the Commission and that they benefited from consultations with Governments and interested intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations,
1. Expresses its appreciation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law for having prepared and adopted the Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration2 and the Arbitration Rules (as revised in 2010, with new article 1, paragraph 4, as adopted in 2013),3 as annexed to the report of the Commission on the work of its forty-sixth session;4
2. Requests the Secretary-General to publish, including electronically, and disseminate broadly the text of the Rules on Transparency, both together with the Arbitration Rules (as revised in 2010, with new article 1, paragraph 4, as adopted in 2013) and as a stand-alone text, and to transmit them to Governments and organizations interested in the field of dispute settlement;
3. Recommends the use of the Rules on Transparency in relation to the settlement of investment disputes within the scope of their application as defined in article 1 of the Rules, and invites Member States that have chosen to include the Rules in their treaties to inform the Commission accordingly;
4. Also recommends that, subject to any provision in relevant treaties that may require a higher degree of transparency
68th plenary meeting 16 December 2013
Scope of application
The UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“Rules on Transparency”) shall apply to investor-State arbitration initiated under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules pursuant to a treaty providing for the protection of investments or investors (“treaty”)5 concluded on or after 1 April 2014 unless the Parties to the treaty6 have agreed otherwise.
In any arbitration in which the Rules on Transparency apply pursuant to a treaty or to an agreement by the Parties to that treaty:
The arbitral tribunal shall have the power, besides its discretionary authority under certain provisions of these Rules, to adapt the requirements of any specific provision of these Rules to the particular circumstances of the case, after consultation with the disputing parties, if such adaptation is necessary to conduct the arbitration in a practical manner and is consistent with the transparency objective of these Rules.
Where the Rules on Transparency provide for the arbitral tribunal to exercise discretion, the arbitral tribunal in exercising such discretion shall take into account:
Where the Rules on Transparency apply, they shall supplement any applicable arbitration rules. Where there is a conflict between the Rules on Transparency and the applicable arbitration rules, the Rules on Transparency shall prevail. Notwithstanding any provision in these Rules, where there is a conflict between the Rules on Transparency and the treaty, the provisions of the treaty shall prevail.
Publication of information at the commencement of arbitral proceedings
Once the notice of arbitration has been received by the respondent, each of the disputing parties shall promptly communicate a copy of the notice of arbitration to the repository referred to under article 8. Upon receipt of the notice of arbitration from the respondent, or upon receipt of the notice of arbitration and a record of its transmission to the respondent, the repository shall promptly make available to the public information regarding the name of the disputing parties, the economic sector involved and the treaty under which the claim is being made.
Publication of documents
Subject to article 7, the following documents shall be made available to the public: the notice of arbitration, the response to the notice of arbitration, the statement of claim, the statement of defence and any further written statements or written submissions by any disputing party; a table listing all exhibits to the aforesaid documents and to expert reports and witness statements, if such table has been prepared for the proceedings, but not the exhibits themselves; any written submissions by the non-disputing Party (or Parties) to the treaty and by third persons, transcripts of hearings, where available; and orders, decisions and awards of the arbitral tribunal.
Subject to article 7, the arbitral tribunal may decide, on its own initiative or upon request from any person, and after consultation with the disputing parties, whether and how to make available exhibits and any other documents provided to, or issued by, the arbitral tribunal not falling within paragraphs 1 or 2 above. This may include, for example, making such documents available at a specified site.
The documents to be made available to the public pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be communicated by the arbitral tribunal to the repository referred to under article 8 as soon as possible, subject to any relevant arrangements or time limits for the protection of confidential or protected information prescribed under article 7. The documents to be made available pursuant to paragraph 3 may be communicated by the arbitral tribunal to the repository referred to under article 8 as they become available and, if applicable, in a redacted form in accordance with article 7. The repository shall make all documents available in a timely manner, in the form and in the language in which it receives them.
A person granted access to documents under paragraph 3 shall bear any administrative costs of making those documents available to that person, such as the costs of photocopying or shipping documents to that person, but not the costs of making those documents available to the public through the repository.
Submission by a third person
A third person wishing to make a submission shall apply to the arbitral tribunal, and shall, in a concise written statement, which is in a language of the arbitration and complies with any page limits set by the arbitral tribunal:
Describe the third person, including, where relevant, its membership and legal status (e.g., trade association or other non-governmental organization), its general objectives, the nature of its activities and any parent organization (including any organization that directly or indirectly controls the third person);
Provide information on any government, person or organization that has provided to the third person (i) any financial or other assistance in preparing the submission; or (ii) substantial assistance in either of the two years preceding the application by the third person under this article (e.g. funding around 20 per cent of its overall operations annually);
In determining whether to allow such a submission, the arbitral tribunal shall take into consideration, among other f actors it determines to be relevant:
Submission by a non-disputing Party to the treaty
The arbitral tribunal, after consultation with the disputing parties, may allow submissions on further matters within the scope of the dispute from a non-disputing Party to the treaty. In determining whether to allow such submissions, the arbitral tribunal shall take into consideration, among other factors it determines to be relevant, the factors referred to in article 4, paragraph 3, and, for greater certainty, the need to avoid submissions which would support the claim of the investor in a manner tantamount to diplomatic protection.
The arbitral tribunal shall make logistical arrangements to facilitate the public access to hearings (including where appropriate by organizing attendance through video links or such other means as it deems appropriate). However, the arbitral tribunal may, after consultation with the disputing parties, decide to hold all or part of the hearings in private where this becomes necessary for logistical reasons, such as when the circumstances render any original arrangement for public access to a hearing infeasible.
Exceptions to transparency
Information that is protected against being made available to the public, in the case of the information of the respondent State, under the law of the respondent State, and in the case of other information, under any law or rules determined by the arbitral tribunal to be applicable to the disclosure of such information; or
The arbitral tribunal, after consultation with the disputing parties, shall make arrangements to prevent any confidential or protected information from being made available to the public, including by putting in place, as appropriate:
Where the arbitral tribunal determines that information should not be redacted from a document, or that a document should not be prevented from being made available to the public, any disputing party, non-disputing Party to the treaty or third person that voluntarily introduced the document into the record shall be permitted to withdraw all or part of the document from the record of the arbitral proceedings.
The arbitral tribunal may, on its own initiative or upon the application of a disputing party, after consultation with the disputing parties where practicable, take appropriate measures to restrain or delay the publication of information where such publication would jeopardize the integrity of the arbitral process because it could hamper the collection or production of evidence, lead to the intimidation of witnesses, lawyers acting for disputing parties or members of the arbitral tribunal, or in comparably exceptional circumstances.
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