Profiting from injustice

How law firms, arbitrators and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom

A small club of international law firms, arbitrators and financial speculators are fuelling an investment arbitration boom that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars and preventing legislation in the public interest, according to a new report from the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory.

Investment arbitration cases are brought by foreign investors against governments following alleged breaches of international investment agreements. Emblematic cases include tobacco giant Philip Morris suing Uruguay and Australia over health warnings on cigarette packets; and Swedish energy multinational Vattenfall seeking $3.7bn from Germany following that country’s decision to phase-out nuclear energy.

Profiting from Injustice uncovers a secretive but burgeoning legal industry which benefits from these disputes – at the expense of taxpayers, the environment and human rights. Law firms and arbitrators, who are making millions from investment disputes against governments, are actively promoting new cases and lobbying against reform in the public interest.

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