Here we publish news and analysis by Fietta’s lawyers on recent developments in public international law and investment treaty arbitration. You can also follow our ‘PIL Latest’ alerts via the firm’s LinkedIn page. Should you wish to discuss any of these developments, please contact Stephen Fietta on +44(0)203 889 9801, Jiries Saadeh on +44(0)203 889 9792, or Oonagh Sands on +44(0)203 889 9793 in the first instance.

ICJ determines the maritime boundary between Somalia and Kenya

On 12 October 2021, the International Court of Justice (the “ICJ” or “Court”) rendered its final judgment in the case Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya), after deciding in 2017 that it had jurisdiction over the dispute. The Court rejected Kenya’s contention that there had already existed a maritime boundary, based on acquiescence, following a “parallel of latitude”. The Court proceeded to delimit a boundary following a form of equidistance line in the territorial sea and an adjusted equidistance line (due to a relevant circumstance of concavity, or cut-off effect) in the exclusive economic zone and continental...

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UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Releases New Assessment Report

On 9 August 2021, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) released the first instalment of its sixth assessment report, entitled: “AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” (“IPCC Report”). The IPCC Report was approved by the 195 Member States to the IPCC and, among other things, may have implications for international climate change adjudication – in particular, as regards obligations of international environmental law and evidence. In 2016, 174 States and the European Union concluded the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (“Paris Agreement”).  Through Article 2(1)(a) of the Paris Agreement, States Parties agreed to “[h]olding the increase...

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Building blocks

ICSID and UNCITRAL update the Draft Code of Conduct for Adjudicators

On 19 April 2021, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) released an updated version of the draft Code of Conduct for Adjudicators (the “Draft Code”), following feedback and recommendations from State representatives and other stakeholders.  This marks the latest effort to provide principles and rules governing issues such as adjudicators’ independence and impartiality, as well as their duty to conduct proceedings with integrity, fairness, efficiency and civility. The Draft Code has been developed in the context of UNCITRAL Working Group III reforms on investor-State dispute settlement and...

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Gavel & test tube

International courts and arbitral institutions continue to revise hearing and other procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

International courts and arbitral institutions continue to adopt measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most notably, the newly revised International Bar Association Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration (“IBA Rules” or “Rules”) contain important provisions on remote hearings.  In further changes, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has recently issued guidelines on conducting proceedings during the pandemic, while the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (“SCC”) now offers free of charge its digital platform for parties to ad-hoc arbitrations, to facilitate virtual hearings.  Some of these measures will stay in place beyond the pandemic and...

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ITLOS

ITLOS rejects all preliminary objections in Mauritius v. Maldives

On 28 January 2021, a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”) ruled on preliminary objections in the Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Marine Boundary Between Mauritius and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius v. Maldives).  The ITLOS rejected all five of the Maldives’ preliminary objections and found Mauritius’ claims admissible.  The ITLOS deferred to the merits phase questions concerning the extent of its jurisdiction, including under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“Convention”), as well as matters concerning Articles 74(3) and 83(3). In June 2019,...

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International Court of Justice

ICJ dismisses US preliminary objections in Iran v. United States

On 3 February 2021, the International Court of Justice (“ICJ” or “Court”) found it had jurisdiction in respect of all claims brought by Iran against the United States (“US”) in the case concerning Alleged violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America).  The Court rejected two of the US’ preliminary objections outright, while leaving the other two to be reassessed at the merits stage. The case arose out of events between 2015 and 2018 concerning the withdrawal and re-imposition of US economic sanctions on Iran.  In July...

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European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK and Finland

The European Commission has launched infringement proceedings against the UK and Finland as a result of their decision not to sign the multilateral treaty terminating intra-EU BITs (Treaty).  On 5 May 2020, 23 of the 28 EU Member States signed the Treaty. On 14 May 2020, the Commission announced that it had sent to the UK and Finland a letter of formal notice, the first step in the infringement process. In its announcement, the Commission states that it “regrets” that the UK and Finland did not sign the Treaty and has urged them to take all necessary actions to urgently...

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Most (but not all) EU Member States sign treaty for the termination of intra-EU BITs

On 5 May 2020, twenty-three Member States of the European Union (EU) signed a plurilateral treaty entitled “Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties between the Member States of the European Union” (Treaty).  When the Treaty enters into force, hundreds of existing intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) will cease to have effect.  Notably, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom did not sign the Treaty. The signing of the Treaty marks the culmination of a process driven by the European Commission (Commission) started more than two years ago, when the Court of Justice of the European Union issued...

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Courts and arbitration institutions continue to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Courts and arbitration institutions continue to adapt their activities in response to the current global health crisis.  Recent measures include postponing physical hearings, publishing guidelines on pending arbitrations and electronic filing, the unveiling of a platform for virtual hearings and a protocol on video conferencing for arbitration, as well as virtual court meetings and trials. On 7 April 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that the period of no physical hearings or judicial meetings would be extended to 31 May 2020.  More recently, on 22 April 2020, the ICJ held the first virtual plenary meeting in its history,...

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International courts and arbitration institutions adopt measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

International courts and arbitration institutions have taken measures to adapt their activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including postponing physical hearings, enhancing online hearing capabilities, prioritising urgent cases, and extending time limits for proceedings. On 20 March 2020, the International Court Justice (ICJ) adopted measures to ensure the continuity of its mandate, while aiming to protect the well-being of its members.  There will be no physical hearings before the ICJ until at least 16 April 2020, and official travel for Court and Registry personnel has been suspended.  These measures are subject to review, depending on how the situation develops....

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