International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

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[edit] General Information

  • Official name: International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • Country: USA
  • City: Washington
  • Type of organization: independent organization
  • Date of creation: 1966
  • Interests: Mediation - Arbitration
  • Fields of expertise: Investor-State Disputes

[edit] Description

ICSID is an autonomous international institution established under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID or the Washington Convention) with over one hundred and forty member States. The Convention sets forth ICSID's mandate, organization and core functions. The primary purpose of ICSID is to provide facilities for conciliation and arbitration of international investment disputes.

The ICSID Convention is a multilateral treaty formulated by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). It was opened for signature on March 18, 1965 and entered into force on October 14, 1966.

The Convention sought to remove major impediments to the free international flows of private investment posed by non-commercial risks and the absence of specialized international methods for investment dispute settlement. ICSID was created by the Convention as an impartial international forum providing facilities for the resolution of legal disputes between eligible parties, through conciliation or arbitration procedures. Recourse to the ICSID facilities is always subject to the parties' consent.

As evidenced by its large membership, considerable caseload, and by the numerous references to its arbitration facilities in investment treaties and laws, ICSID plays an important role in the field of international investment and economic development.

Today, ICSID is considered to be the leading international arbitration institution devoted to investor-State dispute settlement.

[edit] Organizational Structure

ICSID has a simple organizational structure consisting of an Administrative Council and a Secretariat.

[edit] Administrative Council

The Administrative Council is the governing body of ICSID. It is comprised of one representative of each of the ICSID Contracting States. The Administrative Council convenes annually in conjunction with the joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual meetings. All representatives have equal voting powers. The President of the World Bank is ex officio Chairman of the ICSID Administrative Council but has no vote.

Principal functions of the Administrative Council include the election of the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General, the adoption of regulations and rules for the institution and conduct of ICSID proceedings, the adoption of the ICSID budget, and the approval of the annual report on the operation of ICSID.

[edit] Secretariat

The Secretariat consists of a Secretary-General, a Deputy Secretary-General and staff. The Secretary-General is the legal representative of ICSID, the registrar of ICSID proceedings and the principal officer of the Centre. The Deputy Secretary-General is responsible for the day to day operation of the Secretariat and acts for the Secretary-General in the event of his/her absence or inability to exercise duties and during any vacancy in the office of Secretary-General.

Currently, Ms. Meg Kinnear serves as Secretary-General and Mr. Nassib G. Ziadé serves as Deputy Secretary-General.

Principal functions of the Secretariat include providing institutional support for the initiation and conduct of ICSID proceedings; assistance in the constitution of conciliation commissions, arbitral tribunals and ad hoc committees and supporting their operations; and administering the proceedings and finances of each case. The Secretariat also provides support to the Administrative Council and ensures the functioning of ICSID as an international institution and a center for publication of information and scholarship.

The Secretariat maintains the ICSID Panels of Conciliators and of Arbitrators to which each Contracting State may designate four persons and the Chairman of the Administrative Council may designate 10 persons. The ICSID Panels provide a source from which the parties to ICSID proceedings may select conciliators and arbitrators. Further, in the event the Chairman of the Administrative Council is called upon to appoint conciliators, arbitrators or ad hoc committee members in ICSID proceedings, his appointees must be drawn from the Panels.

The Secretariat's administrative costs are financed out of the World Bank's budget; the costs of ICSID proceedings are borne by the disputing parties.

[edit] Dispute Settlement Facilities

ICSID does not conciliate or arbitrate disputes; it provides the institutional and procedural framework for independent conciliation commissions and arbitral tribunals constituted in each case to resolve the dispute.

ICSID has two sets of procedural rules that may govern the initiation and conduct of proceedings under its auspices. These are: (i) the ICSID Convention, Regulations and Rules; and (ii) the ICSID Additional Facility Rules.

[edit] ICSID Convention, Regulations and Rules

The ICSID Convention provides the basic procedural framework for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes arising between member countries and investors that qualify as nationals of other member countries. This framework is supplemented by detailed Regulations and Rules adopted by the ICSID Administrative Council pursuant to the Convention.

A principal feature of conciliation and arbitration under the ICSID Convention is that they are based on a treaty establishing an autonomous and self-contained system for the institution, conduct and conclusion of such proceedings.

Arbitration and conciliation under the Convention are entirely voluntary, but once the parties have given their consent, neither may unilaterally withdraw it. A further distinctive feature is that an arbitral award rendered pursuant to the Convention may not be set aside by the courts of any Contracting State, and is only subject to the post-award remedies provided for in the Convention. The Convention also requires that all Contracting States, whether or not parties to the dispute, recognize and enforce ICSID Convention arbitral awards.

There are several essential jurisdictional conditions for access to arbitration or conciliation under the ICSID Convention:

  • The dispute must be between an ICSID Contracting State and an individual or company that qualifies as a national of another ICSID Contracting State. (ICSID Contracting States may designate constituent subdivisions and agencies to become parties to ICSID proceedings).
  • The dispute must qualify as a legal dispute arising directly out of an investment.
  • The disputing parties must have consented in writing to the submission of their dispute to ICSID arbitration or conciliation.

Under the ICSID Convention, the Secretary-General is vested with the limited power to "screen" requests for institution of ICSID conciliation and arbitration proceedings, and to refuse registration, if on the basis of the information provided in request, the Secretary-General finds that the disputes is manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the Centre.

[edit] ICSID Additional Facility Rules

Besides providing facilities for conciliation and arbitration under the ICSID Convention, the Centre has since 1978 had a set of Additional Facility Rules authorizing the ICSID Secretariat to administer certain types of proceedings between States and foreign nationals which fall outside the scope of the Convention.

These include:

  • Conciliation and arbitration proceedings for the settlement of disputes arising directly out of an investment where either the State party or the home State of the foreign national is not an ICSID Contracting State.
  • Conciliation and arbitration proceedings between parties at least one of which is a Contracting State or a national of a Contracting State for the settlement of disputes that do not directly arise out of an investment.
  • Fact-finding proceedings.

[edit] Other Dispute Settlement Activities of the Centre

Additional activities of ICSID in the field of the settlement of disputes have included the Secretary-General of ICSID accepting to act as the appointing authority of arbitrators in ad hoc (i.e., non-institutional) arbitration proceedings. This is most commonly done in the context of arrangements for arbitration under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which are specially designed for ad hoc proceedings. At the request of the parties and the tribunal concerned, ICSID may also agree to provide administrative services for proceedings handled under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The services rendered by the Centre in such proceedings may range from limited assistance with the organization of hearings and fund-holding to full secretariat services in the administration of the case concerned.

[edit] Contact

1818 H Street, N.W. MSN U3-301 Washington, D.C. 20433 - USA

Tel: (202) 458-1534

Fax: (202) 522-2615


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