Center for Political Awareness

Obscure Court System Doles Out Billions in Public Money to Private Interests

More than $100 billion of public money has been awarded to private investors in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) courts, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet.

Photo: A facility for building the Keystone Pipeline in Nebraska from 2015. Zuma

 

More than $100 billion of public money has been awarded to private investors in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) courts, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet.

The controversial arbitration system which allows corporations to sue governments for compensation over decisions they argue affect their profits is largely carried out behind closed doors, with some judgments kept secret. But, according to a global ISDS tracker which launches today, $114 billion has so far been paid out of the public purse to investors—about as much as rich nations provided in climate aid in 2022.

Fossil fuel companies have been by far the biggest beneficiaries of the corporate panels, raking in $80.2 billion since 1998, according to the site. If current trends continue, at least another $48 billion will be disbursed to settle cases currently under litigation, the research finds.

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