by Ranjan Kumaran – @financialeyes
Anti-corruption campaigners gathered at University of London’s Senate House today to highlight the inaugural meeting of a Legal Think Tank, EFILA, whose members lobby for the ISDS clause, in which countries can be sued by corporations, to be included in the latest Tory backed EU-US trade deal.
Linda Kaucher of Stop TTIP said –
“Investor State Dispute Settlement is a blatant attempt by corporations to ransack public resources, aided by the sort of people attending this EFILA conference.
“The lawyers attending this meeting today make big money from investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases, whether acting as adjudicators, acting for corporations or defending states in these cases.
“Their background work is seeking out agreements, often signed up years ago, to find opportunities for corporations to sue governments, regardless of how that will hit a country’s health or education budgets. Even when governments successfully defend these cases they have to pay millions in costs to these lawyers. Thus these lawyers are like leeches on public finance, sucking the public money that is there to be used for the public good, a disgrace to the law profession and to humanity.
“The EU public has clearly stated, in response to the EU Commission ISDS consultation, that it does not want ISDS at all. Now those charged with carrying out the will of the people must act accordingly.
“There is an opportunity, in law, to end existing member states agreements (Bilateral Investment Agreements) that have ISDS. That opportunity must be taken, not the fact of existing agreements used as a reason to sign up to ISDS provision in ever more far-reaching agreements like TTIP, as is currently happening.
“ISDS must be kept out of any new so-called ‘trade agreements’, even as the fight against these corporate agreements being signed at all, continues. The people coming here for this conference need to understand that the people are opposed to how they make money.”