Investment treaties and national laws governing foreign direct investment often designate a forum for arbitrating disputes between foreign investors and sovereign states. ICSID, the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, is the most frequently designated forum, but another arbitral institution specializing in the resolution of cross-border commercial disputes also may be designated.
Such institutions usually provide a neutral set of procedural rules, maintain a roster of qualified arbitrators, resolve challenges to the selection of arbitrators, and provide space for holding hearings. If the relevant investment treaty or law does not designate a forum, the parties may select an arbitral institution of their choice to administer the arbitration or proceed on an ad hoc basis without the assistance of an arbitral institution.
ICSID was established in 1966 by the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States. Under the terms of the Convention, ICSID provides arbitration services, as well as mediation and conciliation services, to resolve disputes between a contracting state and foreign investors from another contracting state.
The ICSID website provides access to the following information:
Listed below are links to the websites of some of the institutions, other than ICSID, that regularly administer investor-state arbitrations. For a more comprehensive listing of arbitral institutions worldwide, consult Juris International's online directory of Dispute Resolution Centers, which can be browsed alphabetically or geographically. Most arbitral institutions post current and prior editions of their procedural rules on their websites, from which they are available for download in PDF format.