With the CETA, foreign corporations can sue states before arbitral tribunals. Mainly if there is loss in the balance due to government decisions.

If the UK were under such a trade agreement with the EU today, would it be possible for EDF to sue the UK government over the suspension of the Hinkley Point nuclear central project?

I know it is a lot of "what if". My point here is to understand the Investor-State-Tribunals concept.

1 Answer 1


There are lots of different implementations of Investor-state dispute settlement agreements. The exact terms are a matter of negotiation. But usually:

  • They are only valid for foreign investors.
  • They apply to new laws made by a government. They usually don't apply retroactively to laws made before the agreement came into power.
  • They are supposed to protect investors from losing their investment because the legal situation was changed after they made the investment.

That means when a foreign investor invested into building a nuclear power plant after the ISDS agreement was made and then the British government makes a new law which makes building it impossible or far more costly, the foreign investor might be able to sue in an ISDS court to get their investment back from the UK government.

  • Just to get their investment back, or to block the law? That's an important distinction. From what I've read, it's often the former that is the case.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 11:12
  • @gerrit The agreements usually only allow to sue for money, but states can consider to change policies to avert paying a larger settlement and to prevent further ISDS lawsuits by other companies.
    – Philipp
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 11:22
  • Actually, I'll ask a separate question as it's more broadly relevant.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 11:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .