ISDS, the notorious Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, is also known as Corporate Courts. It means that corporations can sue governments for policies that they deem will effect future profits. It is the means by which Veolia, the French waste disposal corporation, is suing the Egyptian government for raising the minimum wage, and by which Phillip Morris, the US tobacco giant, is suing the Australian government for introducing plain packaging on cigarettes in order to dissuade its citizens from smoking.

It is part of many mega-trade deals such as TTIP, CETA and TPP.

TTIP is a ‘revolution against international law’, says UN Expert

16 October 2015

“Globalization cannot be allowed to become the grand global casino where investors rig the system to guarantee that they always win.” UN human rights expert Alfred-Maurice de Zayas doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the new generation of trade deals like TTIP.

Nine thoughts on the TPP agreement being reached today

05 October 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the biggest trade deal in a generation and part of the same 'new generation' of trade deals as TTIP. Its primary purpose is to rewrite global economic rules in favour of capital. But it’s not over and we shouldn’t lose hope.

Exactly a year after the negotiations were completed in Brussels on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a proposed free trade deal between the EU and Canada, a new briefing by Global Justice Now labels the deal a “corporate power grab” and calls on EU and British representatives to veto the agreement. Campaigners have labelled CETA the “ugly brother” of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

How not to reach a compromise on corporate courts

18 September 2015

CecIlia Malmström, Europe’s trade commissioner, gave a powerful demonstration of how not to reach a compromise this week.

After a relentless campaign from millions of Europeans against TTIP, CETA and their provision for investor protection, Ms Malmström and her assistants drew up what she hoped would be the end to the complaints. It achieved nothing of the sort.

  • Campaigners say EU has ignored European public;
  • Proves the need to halt CETA deal now

Trade campaigners have slammed today’s European Commission proposal for an alternative ‘corporate court’ system to replace the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. ISDS forms a central part of the proposed EU-USA trade agreement, TTIP allowing multinational corporations to sue governments if they believe they’ve been treated unfairly.

A coalition of environmental and human rights organisations from the UK, Romania and Canada have called on prime minister David Cameron to intervene in an international case which is pitting a Canadian mining company against the government of Romania. The group argues that under new trade agreements like TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) such cases will radically expand, targeting the British and other European governments.

An important vote on TTIP at the plenary session of the European Parliament that was expected to take place on Wednesday morning was delayed at the last minute. The reason that was cited was that there was such a large number of amendments to the proposal that MEPs needed more time to consider it.

TTIP: A constitutional crisis?

09 June 2015

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a treaty which is being negotiated between the EU and USA.  We believe it will give corporations power over our democratically determined food standards, environmental safeguards, workers rights and public services.  It is also a corporate power grab which shatters our constitution safeguards.

Five things to watch out for in Wednesday’s key vote on TTIP

Trade committee ignores two million people on TTIP

Today the INTA committee met to decide what opinion should be placed before the plenary session of the European parliament regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), including the status of investor protection (ISDS).


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The hustles in Brussels – MEPs vote to block legal scrutiny of toxic trade deal

23 November 2016

One of the most controversial aspects of the toxic trade deals being pushed by the EU is the system of corporate courts.

Big Tobacco lost to Australia over plain packaging - but that doesn't mean that corporate courts 'work'

Late last year tobacco company Philip Morris International’s (PMI) attempted to sue the Australian government for billions over the introduction of plain packing of cigarettes. This court case happened in a secretive court system, just like the one that they are trying to introduce in the EU-USA trade deal, TTIP.

If we support fairtrade, then we must oppose unfair trade deals like CETA and TTIP

02 March 2016

Supporting fairtade is surely a no brainer - and I've yet to meet a politician who doesn't think it's a good thing.  But ignoring (or worse still supporting) mega trade deals TTIP and CETA could threaten decades of good work to ensure that fairtrade supports small-scale producers. 

Five reasons why the TTIP talks are looking a bit wobbly

22 February 2016

The twelfth round of negotiations for TTIP, the biggest trade deal of them all, starts today in Brussels. The impacts of TTIP are disturbing and well documented elsewhere on this site, but we are seeing signs of panic setting in on the pro-TTIP side of the fence. They’re right to panic.

If you’re worried about our sovereignty, read the German judges’ damning indictment of TTIP

03 February 2016

A group of German judges have just dealt a serious blow to the European Commission’s desperate TTIP ‘compromise’.

‘Corporate courts’ have taken from the poor and handed to the rich – TTIP will turbo-charge this redistribution

19 January 2016

Huge corporations and the seriously wealthy will be the big winners from the controversial US-EU trade deal known as TTIP.


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How TTIP threatens people and planet

February 2016

Negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and USA began in July 2013. If agreed, it would be the world’s biggest trade and investment deal outside of those negotiated within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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Taxes on trial - how trade deals threaten tax justice

February 2016

Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with inequality at historic and unsustainable levels and increased attention towards the tax practices of  major multinational corporations from Google to Starbucks. We believe that governments must be able to change their tax systems to ensure multinationals pay their fair share and to ensure that critical public services are well funded. States must also be able to reconsider and withdraw tax breaks previously granted to multinationals if they no longer fit with national priorities.

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Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada

October 2015

Maude Barlow, Canadian activist and author, has written this paper as a warning to Europeans who care about the health of their people, the resilience of their communities, the fate of their public services, and the protection of their natural resources.

Latest news

Groups in more than 90 countries warn ISDS system could be used to claim billions from governments over pandemic protections

As the UK trade minister Greg Hands visits the United States for trade talks (1), an alliance of civil society groups this morning delivered nearly 70,000 signatures to the Department for International Trade calling on the UK government to commit to keeping controversial ‘corporate courts’ out of post-Brexit trade deals.

Campaign groups Global Justice Now and War on Want have called for Boris Johnson’s government to rule out so-called ‘corporate courts’ after Brexit, following a report today by parliament’s International Trade Committee describing the investment provisions as “hugely controversial”.