Covid and ISDS

The risk from corporate courts in normal times is bad enough. Now we fear that corporate courts could be used to claim billions from governments over pandemic protections.

Countries could be facing a wave of cases from transnational corporations suing governments over actions taken to respond to the Covid pandemic. Cases could arise from actions that many governments have taken to save lives, stem the pandemic, protect jobs, counter economic disaster and ensure peoples’ basic needs are met. For instance, some countries have taken actions such as requisitioning private hospitals, freezing water gas and electricity bills, and ensuring medicines and tests are affordable. Threats of cases have already been made in Peru and Chile, and law firms are actively advising corporations of the options open to them.

Across the world more than 630 civil society groups in over 90 countries have sounded the alarm in an open letter to governments.  They are calling on governments to urgently take practical steps around restricting and suspending the use of ISDS over the pandemic, as well as putting an end to the risks of ISDS forever.