This full day event will once again bring together high-level practitioners to discuss the latest developments and trends in investor-state arbitration. Amongst other topics, panellists are expected to cover Intra-EU BITs and developments relating to the Achmea ruling; and what the “New NAFTA” agreement means for international arbitration. The day will also feature a GAR Live favourite, the GAR Live symposium, which offers the audience an exclusive opportunity to propose questions and weigh in on the hot topics.

These sessions will provide the audience with a unique insight from the leading figures in the sphere. The conference will include an audience of practitioners from across the USA and internationally, allowing delegates to connect with and learn from like-minded individuals.


Covington & Burling LLP
850 10th St NW, Washington, DC
20001, EUA


9.00: Welcome coffee and registration

9.30: Chairs’ opening remarks

Claudia Frutos-Peterson, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle
Matthew Slater, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

9.45: Session one: Intra-EU BITS: The struggle between courts and arbitrators

As the dust from the Achmea decision and Micula saga swirls, courts and arbitrators are taking differing views of limitations on states’ rights and duties under EU law. Where is this leading investor-state disputes? What can we expect going forward?

Among other things, the panel are expected to discuss:

  • The risks for parties and the enforceability of awards;
  • What are the risks for the investor-state dispute settlement system and the continuing friction and the issues of legitimacy and credibility;
  • Should arbitrators take greater account of court practice; and should courts take great account of arbitral practice?

Christopher Moore, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Ken Fleuriet, King & Spalding
Justin Jacinto, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle
Natalie Reid, Debevoise & Plimpton
Amaia Rivas Kortazar, State Attorney and Chief of Legal Relations with Investees, Spanish Banking Resolution Authority (FROB)

11.00: Coffee break

11.30: Session two: The GAR Live symposium

Our espresso version of the popular Tylney Hall format.

The moderators will consider issues such as:

  • Is the UNCITRAL Working Group III going in the right direction?
  • What are the most important issues sovereign states should take into account when deciding whether to enter into investment treaties and negotiating their terms?
  • Will the proposed ICSID rules changes serve their purposes?
  • Which direction is the pendulum moving on a proposed investment court?
  • How have panels performed this year on quantum issues?

Jean Kalicki, Independent Arbitrator
Mark Kantor, Independent Arbitrator

12.45: Networking lunch

14.15: Session three: What will the US-Mexico-Canada agreement mean for NAFTA and investor-state arbitration?

President Trump was faced with much debate on whether the US should revamp or withdraw from NAFTA, and after down-to-the-wire negotiations he was able to produce USMCA. This new agreement retains some of the old provisions in NAFTA. However, it attempts to curtail the ISDS system and, more importantly, reframes NAFTA.

Questions the panel are expected to discuss include:

  • What are the prospects of USMCA being ratified?
  • What are the main procedural and substantive differences between NAFTA and the USMCA?
  • What is the effect of having a regime without reciprocity within the USMCA?
  • What is the response to investor-state arbitration being unavailable between the US and Canada?
  • Can the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP-II) fill the ISDS gap in the USMCA with respect to Canadian and Mexican investors?
  • Will environmental or labour critics of NAFTA be happy with the change?

Kate Brown de Vejar, DLA Piper

Marney Cheek, Covington & Burling 
Ian Laird, Crowell & Moring
Aristeo López, Counsel for International Trade, Mexican Embassy, Washington DC
José Antonio Rivas, Vannin Capital

15.30: Coffee break

16.00: Session four: The GAR Live debate

In Oxford Union style, we will hear teams of debaters argue in favour of, or against, a motion. A panel of judges will then voice opinions on what has been heard, before choosing which side to support and giving reasons for their decisions.

Motion: “This house believes that the current format of investment treaty awards undermines the legitimacy of an investor-state arbitral dispute settlement”

Questions the panel are expected to discuss are:

  • Does the procedural detail and extensive recitation of arguments hide the crux of the matter from a lay audience and therefore undermine the legitimacy of the decision making to the public?
  • If so, is it too late to change, or can steps be taken to improve the situation?
  • Can arbitral awards be refashioned without adversely affecting the due process rights of the parties?
  • Would it be beneficial to make executive summaries a mandatory feature of investment treaty awards?
  • Is there some other respected institution that could be entrusted with responsibility for making ISDS decisions more accessible and understandable to the public?

Claudia Frutos-Peterson, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle
Matthew Slater, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Julie Bédard, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
George Bermann, Columbia University

Teddy Baldwin, Steptoe & Johnson
Gaela Gehring Flores, Arnold & Porter
Erica Franzetti, Dechert
Brian King, 3 Verulam Buildings

17.15: Chairs’ closing remarks

Claudia Frutos-Peterson, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle
Matthew Slater, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

17.30: Close of conference

  • Event Details
  • Location: Washington DC
  • Start Date: 16/05/2019 9:00 am
  • End Date: 16/05/2019 5:30 pm
  • ArbitralWomen Participation: Jean Kalicki, Julie Bedard, Kate Brown de Vejar, Natalie Reid