The investment tribunal included in the recently released, legally scrubbed text of the Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is an intriguing development in the ongoing debate about investor-state arbitration (ISA). While the CETA text is being translated and thereafter subjected to completion of the internal approval processes in Canada and the European Union, it is worth considering whether the new investment tribunal offers an opportunity for Canadian and EU leadership on global ISA reform. Article 8.29 says “The Parties shall pursue with other trading partners the establishment of a multilateral investment tribunal and appellate mechanism for the resolution of investment disputes.” Could this be an opportunity for Canada and the European Union to lead the way on establishing a permanent global and transparent adjudicative system for investor-state disputes, or will adoption of this model only add confusion and prevent more fundamental reform?  

CIGI’s International Law Research Program invited commentary by noted experts in the field about the promise and peril of CETA’s new investment tribunal and whether this development will enhance or hinder global rule of law.  In this series, these experts opine on the tribunal’s potential impact on the often criticized system of ISA: whether it is a significant reform, a superficial adjustment or a retrenchment. Readers will have to draw their own conclusions as to whether this is a cosmic or cosmetic reform of the system of ISA.