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Mr Pablo Jaroslavsky

Associate - Dechamps International Law

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Mr Juan Pablo Blasco

Legal Intern - Dechamps International Law

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Amici Curiae in Investment Arbitration

I. Definition

1.

The term amicus curiae (plural: amici curiae) is the Latin translation for “friend of the court.”1 In international investment arbitration, an amicus curiae (sometimes referred to as “non-disputing party”) is any third party that intervenes in certain degree in the proceedings with the view of assisting the arbitral tribunal regarding some of the aspects of a case.2

II. Types of participation

2.

Different persons and entities have requested arbitral tribunals to allow their participation as amici curiae in order to:

  1. obtain access to certain documents of the case;3
  2. participate in or attend to oral hearings;4 and
  3. make written submissions.5
3.

Yet, in those cases in which tribunals have accepted the participation of amici curiae, they have mostly authorized the filing of written submissions.6 On the other hand, tribunals have generally rejected amici curiae’s requests to obtain access to the documents of the case,7 although some tribunals have exceptionally accepted these kind of petitions.8 In the same vein, tribunals have also generally refused to allow amici curiae to participate in or attend to oral hearings,9 although there is a precedent in which a petition of this nature was granted.10

III. Source of the arbitral tribunals' powers to accept amici curiae's participation

4.

Arbitral tribunals have found their power to accept amicus curiae’s participation in different instruments and rules, such as:

  1. The North America Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) Free Trade Commission’s Statement on non-disputing party participation of 2003 (the “FTC Statement”).11
  2. Article 15(1) of the 1976 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.12
  3. Article 44 of the ICSID Convention,13 before the amendment of ICSID’s Arbitration Rules and the entry into force of their Article 37(2) in 2006.
  4. Article 37(2) of the ICSID Arbitration Rules.14
  5. Article 41(2) of the ICSID Arbitration (Additional Facility) Rules.15
  6. Other treaties and rules.16

IV. Conditions to allow amici curiae's participation

5.

The FTC Statement and the ICSID Arbitration Rules (under which the vast majority of the decisions on the participation of amici curiae was rendered) allow amici curiae’s participation only under certain conditions. Article 37(2) of the ICSID Arbitration Rules, Article 41(2) of the ICSID Arbitration (Additional Facility) Rules and Point B.6 of the FTC Statement share most of these conditions, which are:

  1. The non-disputing party submission must assist the arbitral tribunal in the determination of a factual or legal issue related to the proceedings by bringing a perspective, particular knowledge or insight that is different from that of the disputing parties;
  2. The non-disputing party submission must address matters within the scope of the dispute; and
  3. The non-disputing party must have a significant interest in the arbitration.17
6.

Additionally, the FTC Statement requires that there is a public interest in the subject-matter of the arbitration.18

7.

Although these rules provide a useful guidance to arbitral tribunals regarding the conditions amici curiae’s participation must fulfil, investment tribunals have followed different approaches towards the issue. In the end, as shown below, the issue remains, essentially, a factual one, whose assessment must be analysed in the circumstances of each case.

V. Investment tribunals' considerations to admit amici curiae's interventions

8.

To date, 77 petitions to participate as amici curiae were made on 61 different cases (25 in NAFTA cases19 and 52 in non-NAFTA cases20). Of these, 47 petitions were fully accepted (61 per cent),21 one was partially accepted,22 and 29 were rejected by the arbitral tribunals.23

9.

When tribunals have accepted amici curiae’s participation, they have done it mainly based on the following considerations:

  1. the petition addressed matters within the scope of the dispute;24
  2. the petition did not unduly burden nor unfairly prejudice a disputing party’s submission;25
  3. the petitioner had a different expertise, experience or perspective from that of the parties that could assist the tribunal;26
  4. the petitioner had a significant interest in the arbitration;27
  5. there was a public interest in the subject-matter of the arbitration;28
  6. the petitioner was independent from the parties of the arbitration;29 and/or
  7. the petitioner provided a written undertaking that it would bear any costs arising from its intervention.30
10.

On the other hand, tribunals have rejected petitions on the following bases:

  1. the petition addressed a matter outside the scope of the dispute;31
  2. admitting the petition would have imposed an unduly and potentially prejudicial burden on the parties in case it had been accepted;32
  3. the petitioner lacked a different expertise, experience or perspective from that of the parties that could have assisted the tribunal;33
  4. the petitioner lacked a significant interest in the arbitration;34
  5. the petitioner failed to explain the public interest it was seeking to address;35
  6. the petitioner failed to provide the tribunal with sufficient information regarding its petition;36
  7. there were doubts as to the petitioner’s independence from the parties;37
  8. the absence of the parties’ consent;38
  9. the petitioner failed to provide a written undertaking to pay any additional costs incurred by the parties in responding to its submission;39
  10. the petitioner was not a person from one of the parties to the applicable treaty nor had any significant presence in its territory;40 and/or
  11. the tribunal considered that the petition was premature.41

VI. Persons and entities requesting participation as amici curiae

11.

Persons and entities who have requested arbitral tribunals to participate as amici curiae to date included:

  1. 38 non-governmental and non-profit organizations;42
  2. 15 commercial, civil, labour and social associations;43
  3. 7 private companies;44
  4. 8 groups of academics or research centres;45
  5. 6 individuals;46
  6. 5 indigenous communities;47 and
  7. 4 international organizations.48
12.

The entity with more petitions to intervene as amicus curiae granted to date is the European Commission, with twenty-four petitions granted49 and twelve rejected.50 Additionally, arbitral tribunals have accepted every petition filed by other international organizations51 and by civil, labour or social associations to date.52 Nevertheless, tribunals have generally been more cautious when allowing the participation as amici curiae of private entities (five petitions rejected53 and four accepted54); individuals (five petitions rejected55 and only one accepted56); non-governmental and non-profit organizations (thirteen petitions accepted57 and six rejected58); indigenous communities (one petition accepted59 and one rejected60); and groups of academics and research centres (three petitions accepted61 and two rejected62).

Annex - Amici curiae in investment arbitration

No.

Case

Petitioner(s)

Decision

Date

NAFTA cases

1

United Parcel Service of America Inc. (UPS) v. Canada, ICSID Case No. UNCT/02/1

(i) The Canadian Union of Postal Workers and (ii) the Council of Canadians

Granted

1 August 2003

2

Methanex Corporation v. United States of America

(i) The Communities for Better Environment (ii) the Bluewater Network of Earth Island Institute and (iii) the Center for International Environmental Law

Granted

6 April 2004

3

The International Institute for Sustainable Development

Granted

4

Glamis Gold, Ltd. v. The United States of America

The Quechan Indian Nation

Granted

15 February 2007

5

Sierra Club and Earthworks

Granted

6

(i) Friends of the Earth Canada and (ii) Friends of the Earth United States

Granted

7

National Mining Association

Granted

8

Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P. v. Canada, ICSID Case No. UNCT/07/1

(i) Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, (ii) the United Steelworkers and (iii) the British Columbia Federation of Labour

Granted

2 October 2008

9

Apotex Inc. v. United States of America, ICSID Case No. UNCT/10/2

Business Neatness Magnanimity BNM srl

Rejected

11 October 2011

10

Apotex Holdings Inc. and Apotex Inc. v. United States of America, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/12/1

Business Neatness Magnanimity BNM srl

Rejected

4 March 2013

11

Mr. Barry Appleton

Rejected

4 March 2013

12

Eli Lilly and Company v. Canada, ICSID Case No. UNCT/14/2

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Granted

23 February 2016

13

Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

Granted

14

(i) Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and (ii) the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy

Granted

15

Intellectual property law professors from universities in the United States

Granted

16

National Association of Manufacturers

Granted

17

A group of academics from the US, UK, Switzerland, South Africa and Nepal

Partially granted

18

Three professors from the University of Cambridge

Rejected

19

(i) Innovative Medicines Canada and (ii) BIOTECanada

Rejected

20

(i) Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (ii) Mexican Association of the Research Based Pharmaceutical Industry and (iii) Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Rejected

21

Lion Mexico Consolidated L.P. v. United Mexican States, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/15/2

Mr. Iván Mercado

Rejected

23 May 2017

22

Resolute Forest Products Inc. v. Canada, PCA Case No. 2016-13

(i) Mr. Barry Appleton and (ii) Prof. Robert Howse

Rejected

29 June 2017

23

Lone Pine Resources Inc. v. Canada, ICSID Case No. UNCT/15/2

Mr. Muhammad Muzahidul Islam

Rejected

10 September 2017

24

Centre québécois du droit de l'environnement

Granted

25

Alicia Grace and others v. United Mexican States, ICSID Case No. UNCT/18/4

(i) Alterna Capital Partners LLC, (ii) Asia Research & Capital Management Ltd., (iii) Contrarian Capital Management LLC, (iv) CQS LLP, (v) GHL Investments Ltd. and (vi) Ship Finance International Limited

Rejected

24 June 2019

Non-NAFTA cases

26

Aguas del Tunari S.A. v. Republic of Bolivia, ICSID Case No. ARB/02/3

Earthjustice

Rejected

29 January 2003

27

Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A. and Interagua Servicios Integrales de Agua S.A. v. Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/03/17

(i) Fundación para el Desarrollo Sustentable, (ii) Prof. Ricardo (iii) Ignacio Beltramino, (iv) Ms. Ana María Herren, and (v) Mr. Omar Darío Heffes

Rejected

17 March 2006

28

Biwater Gauff (Tanzania) Limited v. United Republic of Tanzania, ICSID Case No. ARB/05/22

(i) Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team, (ii) Legal and Human Rights Centre, (iii) Tanzania Gender Networking Programme, (iv) Center for International Environmental Law and (v) International Institute for Sustainable Development

Granted

2 February 2007

29

Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona, S.A. and Vivendi Universal S.A. (formerly Aguas Argentinas, S.A., Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona, S.A. and Vivendi Universal, S.A.) v. Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/03/19

(i) Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia, (ii) Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, (iii) Center for International Environmental Law, (iv) Consumidores Libres Cooperativa Ltda. de Provisión de Servicios de Acción Comunitaria, and (v) Unión de Usuarios y Consumidores

Granted

12 February 2007

30

AES Summit Generation Limited and AES-Tisza Erömü Kft. v. Republic of Hungary (II), ICSID Case No. ARB/07/22

European Commission

Granted

26 November 2008

31

Electrabel S.A. v. The Republic of Hungary, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/19

European Commission

Granted

28 April 2009

32

Ioan Micula, Viorel Micula and others v. Romania (I), ICSID Case No. ARB/05/20

European Commission

Granted

15 May 2009

33

Piero Foresti, Laura de Carli and others v. Republic of South Africa, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/07/01

(i) Centre for Applied Legal Studies, (ii) Center for International Environment Law, (iii) International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, and (iv) Legal Resources Centre

Granted

5 October 2009

34

International Commission of Jurists

Granted

35

Pac Rim Cayman LLC v. Republic of El Salvador, ICSID Case No. ARB/09/12

(i) Comité Ambiental de Cabañas, (ii) Asociación Amigos de San Isidro Cabañas, (iii) Asociación de Comunidades para el Desarrollo de Chalatenango, (iv) Asociación de Desarrollo Económico y Social, (v) Asociación para El Desarrollo de El Salvador, (vi) Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho, (vii) Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña and (viii) Movimiento Unificado Francisco Sánchez

Granted

23 March 2011

36

Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Corporation v. The Republic of Ecuador (II), PCA Case No. 2009-23

(i) Fundación Pachamama and (ii) International Institute for Sustainable Development

Rejected

18 April 2011

37

Border Timbers Limited, Timber Products International (Private) Limited and Hangani Development Co. (Private) Limited v. Republic of Zimbabwe, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/25

(i) European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and (ii) four indigenous communities

Rejected

26 June 2012

Bernhard von Pezold and others v. Republic of Zimbabwe, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/15

38

Charanne B.V. and Construction Investments S.A.R.L. v. Spain, SCC Case No. 062/2012

European Commission

Granted

26 November 2014

39

Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V. v. Kingdom of Spain, SCC Case No. V2013/153

European Commission

Granted

12 December 2014

40

Philip Morris Brand Sàrl (Switzerland), Philip Morris Products S.A. (Switzerland) and Abal Hermanos S.A. (Uruguay) v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/7

(i) World Health Organization and (ii) World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat

Granted

17 February 2015

41

Pan American Health Organization

Granted

24 March 2015

42

Antaris Solar GmbH and Dr. Michael Göde v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-01

European Commission

Rejected

5 March 2015

43

Masdar Solar & Wind Cooperatief U.A. v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/1

European Commission

Granted

20 March 2015

44

I.C.W. Europe Investments Limited v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-22

European Commission

Rejected

9 April 2015

45

Photovoltaik Knopf Betriebs-GmbH v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-21

European Commission

Rejected

9 April 2015

46

Voltaic Network GmbH v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-20

European Commission

Rejected

9 April 2015

47

WA Investments-Europa Nova Limited v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-19

European Commission

Rejected

9 April 2015

48

Jürgen Wirtgen, Stefan Wirtgen, Gisela Wirtgen and JSW Solar (zwei) GmbH & Co. KG v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-03

European Commission

Granted

22 September 2015

49

Blusun S.A., Jean-Pierre Lecorcier and Michael Stein v. Italian Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/3

European Commission

Granted

30 October 2015

50

NextEra Energy Global Holdings B.V. and NextEra Energy Spain Holdings B.V. v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/11

European Commission

Granted

6 January 2016

51

Eiser Infrastructure Limited and Energía Solar Luxembourg S.à r.l. v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/36

European Commission

Rejected

8 January 2016

52

Infinito Gold Ltd. v. Republic of Costa Rica, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/5

Asociación Preservacionista de Flora y Fauna Silvestre

Granted

1 June 2016

53

RWE Innogy GmbH and RWE Innogy Aersa S.A.U. v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/34

European Commission

Granted

13 July 2016

54

Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/21

(i) Association of Human Rights and Environment of Puno and (ii) Mr. Carlos López-Hurtado

Granted

21 July 2016

55

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Rejected

21 July 2016

56

Belenergia S.A. v. Italian Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/40

European Commission

Granted

16 December 2016

57

Greentech Energy Systems A/S, NovEnergia II Energy & Environment (SCA) SICAR, and NovEnergia II Italian Portfolio SA v. Italian Republic, SCC Case No. V 2015/095

European Commission

Granted

17 January 2017

58

Eskosol S.p.A. in liquidazione v. Italian Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/50

European Commission

Granted

10 February 2017

59

SunReserve Luxco Holdings SRL v. Italy, SCC Case No. 132/2016

European Commission

Granted

16 March 2017

60

Novenergia II - Energy & Environment (SCA) (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), SICAR v. Kingdom of Spain, SCC Case No. 2015/063

European Commission

Granted

24 March 2017

61

Foresight Luxembourg Solar 1 S.À.R.L., et al. v. Kingdom of Spain, SCC Case No. 2015/150

European Commission

Granted

27 March 2017

62

BayWa r.e. Renewable Energy GmbH and BayWa r.e. Asset Holding GmbH v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/16

European Commission

Rejected

4 April 2017

63

Stadtwerke München GmbH and others v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/1

European Commission

Rejected

11 April 2017

64

OperaFund Eco-Invest SICAV PLC and Schwab Holding AG v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/36

European Commission

Granted

13 June 2017

65

UP and C.D Holding Internationale v. Hungary, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/35

European Commission

Rejected

27 August 2018

66

Magyar Farming Company Ltd, Kintyre Kft and Inicia Zrt v. Hungary, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/27

European Commission

Granted

5 September 2018

67

United Utilities (Tallinn) B.V. and Aktsiaselts Tallinna Vesi v. Republic of Estonia, ICSID Case No ARB/14/24

European Commission

Granted

2 October 2018

68

AS PNB Banka and others v. Republic of Latvia, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/47

European Commission

Granted

30 October 2018

69

Hydro Energy 1 S.à r.l. and Hydroxana Sweden AB v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/42

European Commission

Granted

19 November 2018

70

9REN Holding S.a.r.l v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/15

European Commission

Rejected

26 November 2018

71

Rockhopper Exploration Plc, Rockhopper Italia S.p.A. and Rockhopper Mediterranean Ltd v. Italian Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/14

European Commission

Rejected

18 December 2018

72

Theodoros Adamakopoulos, Ilektra Adamantidou, Vasileios Adamopoulos and others v. Republic of Cyprus, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/49

European Commission

Granted

9 January 2019

73

Addiko Bank AG and Addiko Bank d.d. v. Republic of Croatia, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/37

European Commission

Granted

21 January 2019

74

Eco Oro Minerals Corp. v. Republic of Colombia, ICSID Case No. ARB/16/41

(i) Comité para la Defensa del Agua y el Páramo de Santurbán, (ii) Center for International Environmental Law, (iii) Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente, (iv) MiningWatch Canada, (v) Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Project, and (vi) Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations

Rejected

18 February 2019

75

A.M.F. Aircraftleasing Meier & Fischer GmbH & Co. KG v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2017-15

European Commission

Granted

5 April 2019

76

Daniel W. Kappes and Kappes, Cassidy & Associates v. Republic of Guatemala, ICSID Case No. ARB/18/43

La Puya

Rejected

7 November 2019

77

Cube Infrastructure Fund SICAV and others v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/20

European Commission

Rejected

2 April 2020

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