ISDS law firm in London to be targeted by TTIP protest

ISDS law firm in London to be targeted by TTIP protest

Date: 30 April 2015

A law firm that has represented numerous multinational corporations in controversial court cases against national governments through the ‘investor protection’ mechanism in a series of bilateral trade deals will be targeted on Thursday in a creative protest involving US-based performance activists Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir.

Investor protection court cases have become increasingly controversial in the UK as a result of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated by the USA and EU. Under TTIP, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) would allow corporations to sue governments for introducing legislation or policies that were harmful to corporate profits.

King & Spalding is a law firm that has been involved in numerous cases of corporations suing governments. King & Spalding has been representing Veolia in a court case against Egypt for increasing the minimum wage.

The protest, co-organised by Global Justice Now will involve Reverend Billy delivering a sermon relating to the huge corporate power grab that ISDS would generate under TTIP, before performing a stylized ‘exorcism’ of corporate power in the offices, accompanied by gospel singing from the seventeen-strong Stop Shopping Choir.

Guy Taylor, the trade campaigner from Global Justice Now said:

“King & Spalding have represented countless corporate clients in suing governments for making decisions that have benefited workers rights, public services or protected the environment. The controversial EU-USA trade deal TTIP would massively ramp up the ability of corporations to carry out court cases like this.

Governments would start implementing legislation on the basis of whether they were safe from litigious corporations rather than whether it was beneficial to ordinary people. And law firms like King & Spalding would make a fortune through representing even more corporate clients in all the additional court cases.”

In January 2015 the EU’s public consultation on ISDS revealed that 97% of the people who responded said they wanted it excluded from the deal. Last week it was revealed that half of the EU parliamentary committees that had discussed TTIP were against the inclusion of ISDS in the deal.

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King & Spalding have represented:

  • Chevron against Bangladesh
  • Enron against Argentina
  • Global Gold Mining against Armenia
  • Pioneer Natural resources Company against Argentina
  • Mobil against Argentina
  • Pan American Energy against Argentina
  • City Oriente against Ecuador
  • Camuzzi International SA against Argentina
  • Machala Power against Ecuador
  • Azurix Corp against Argentina
  • Impregilo against Argentina
  • Fraport against the Philippines
  • Chevron and Texaco against Ecuador
  • Chevron and Texaco against Ecuador – again
  • Renco mining Group against Peru