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Getting The Deal Through


Harold Frey and Hanno Wehland

Lenz & Staehelin

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Introduction to ICSID arbitration

This chapter deals with arbitration under the rules of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), subsequently referred to as ICSID arbitration. ICSID was established in 1966 through the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention) and is one of the five international organisations that are part of the World Bank Group. Its main purpose is to provide institutional support for concilia- tion and arbitration proceedings in relation to international investment disputes. In terms of structure, ICSID consists of an administrative council composed of representatives of its current 153 member states and a secretariat headed by its secretary general.

The unique character of ICSID arbitration derives from the fact that, unlike standard commercial arbitrations, ICSID proceedings are largely detached from national legal orders and, in particular, are not subject to supervision by the courts at the seat of the arbitration. This ‘self-contained’ nature of the ICSID process is particularly relevant when it comes to the setting aside of ICSID awards and – to a lesser extent – with regard to the enforcement of awards. ICSID arbitration must be distinguished from arbitration under the rules of ICSID’s additional facility, which is not governed by the ICSID Convention and will not be addressed in this chapter.

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