An unbalanced and unfair system
All trade agreements have state-to-state dispute processes. ISDS is only included in some trade agreements and gives special rights to foreign investors (that are not available to local investors) to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars if they can claim that a change in law or policy will harm their future profits. ISDS has been included in some trade and investment agreements. All such agreements have government-to-government dispute systems, but not all have ISDS.
ISDS is a fundamentally unbalanced system that gives additional legal rights to global corporations that already have enormous market power. Strong community opposition has kept it out of World Trade Organisation agreements, and of recent agreements like the Regional comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement and the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.
ISDS tribunals consist of investment lawyers who can continue to be practicing lawyers, with obvious conflicts of interest. Australia’s High Court Chief Justice and other legal experts have said that ISDS is not a fair legal system because it has no independent judges, no precedents and no appeals. There are 1303 known cases, many against health, environment, regulation of carbon emissions and other public interest laws.