Corporate courts

What are corporate courts?

Trade and investment deals are giving big business unique powers to sue governments for making decisions that harm their profits. This system, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), enables corporations to sue governments in corporate courts for policies such as raising the minimum wage, introducing new rules to protect the environment and  putting health warnings on cigarette packaging.

Why do we need to stop the corporate court system?

These corporate courts are an elite legal system exclusively for global investors. They allow corporations to bypass the national legal system and instead have cases heard in secretive tribunals, where the law is tailored to their interests and where arbitrators don’t have to balance the public interest, human rights or environmental concerns.

Across the world, taxpayers are forced to cough up millions which could be used for healthcare or education, to ‘compensate’ corporations for democratic decisions that protect people and planet. Often the threat of a case alone can also pressure governments to back down on important policies.

The global fightback

People are fighting back, and countries like South Africa, Ecuador and Indonesia have already ripped up these toxic deals. The movements against TTIP and CETA have exposed the illegitimacy of the corporate courts system and now it is vulnerable. Together with campaigners across the UK, Europe and around the world, we can ramp up the pressure and topple this system.

Our demands

In the UK, as the government reassesses trade and investment policy in a Brexit context, we have an opportunity to ensure that ISDS has no place in it. We are calling for:

  • No ISDS in new and replacement trade deals
  • Removal of ISDS in existing investment deals