When is information on Treaty-based investor-State arbitrations published in the Transparency Registry?
The Transparency Registry is an online database (also known as a “repository”) of information relating to treaty-based investor-State arbitration.
In many investment treaties, States parties provide certain standards of investment protection to foreign investors and their investments (such as fair and equitable treatment, protection from expropriation, and non-discrimination). Investment treaties generally also allow investors to claim compensation in case of a breach of the obligations under these protection standards and provide the possibility for foreign investors to bring claims against host States to international arbitration tribunals. This type of proceeding is known as treaty-based investor-State arbitration or Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).
Traditionally, arbitration proceedings were confidential (reflecting the norm in international commercial arbitration). However, there are ISDS cases that involve questions of public interest, such as environmental and social policy issues, where transparency of the proceedings and the resolution are important. UNCITRAL has therefore adopted texts to provide for transparency in ISDS, known as the “UNCITRAL Transparency Standards”.
The UNCITRAL Transparency Standards are comprised of:
- The Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the “Transparency Rules”, 2013);
- The United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the “Mauritius Convention on Transparency”, 2014); and
- The Transparency Registry.
The Transparency Registry is a consolidated, global database of ISDS cases and related documents, easily accessible to the public and free of charge. The information published in the Transparency Registry includes case files, decisions and awards and other information which may explain the outcome of the proceedings. By making information about ISDS cases available in a timely and accurate manner, the Transparency Registry can enhance the predictability and legal certainty of investments and of State measures or actions that affect them.
When is information on treaty-based investor-State arbitrations published in the Transparency Registry?
The Transparency Registry publishes information and documents in the following treaty-based investor-State arbitrations:
- Those commenced under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (article 1.4 of those Rules)
- Those commenced under an investment treaty covered by the Mauritius Convention on Transparency (art.1 of the Convention)
- Those commenced under rules other than the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules or in ad hoc proceedings, but where the arbitration chooses to use the Transparency Rules (art.1.9 Transparency Rules); or
- Any other such arbitrations, where the relevant tribunal requests the Transparency Registry to publish information related to the arbitration concerned.
To enhance the coverage provided by the Transparency Registry and in order to further the objectives of the Transparency Standards, the Transparency Registry also provides information on other treaty-based investor-State arbitrations where the parties appointed another registry to publish information on the arbitration concerned, as well as information on cases where transparency was considered by the arbitral tribunal.
The Transparency Registry was established under article 8 of the Transparency Rules. The UNCITRAL secretariat, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, hosts and operates the Transparency Registry, pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 68/106 of 16 December 2013.
The operation of the Transparency Registry relies entirely on voluntary contributions. Since 2016, the European Union and the OPEC Fund have been the main contributors to its operation. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has also contributed for the period 2022-2024.
The UNCITRAL secretariat has prepared guidelines on the procedure for submission of information and documents to the Registry in compliance with the Transparency Rules.