In this new transatlantic trade video, Professor Kyla Tienhaara of Queen’s University discusses the role of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in trade agreements. This mechanism allows foreign investors to make claims for compensation from governments through a legally binding process outside of the domestic courts. She offers a critical analysis of the impact of ISDS on efforts by states to regulate in the interest of the public good, particularly in relation to the environment and climate change.

Professor Tienhaara notes the ISDS is an ad-hoc system, in which individuals who serve as a lawyer in one case can be a judge in another case. She argues that ISDS is a one-sided system without benefit to the public, as companies are allowed to bring claims against governments while governments are not allowed to bring claims against companies. She cites cases in the fossil fuel industry to demonstrate how claims through the ISDS have contributed to delaying governments from taking direct action against climate change.

Dr. Kyla Tienhaara is Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment and Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Studies and the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University. Her research examines the intersection between environmental governance and the global economic system.

This is an installment of our Transatlantic Trade Video series. You can find more videos like this here.