Investor-State Disputes in the Construction Sector
Governments with pressing infrastructure or energy & resources development agendas pro-actively seek foreign investment from project sponsors, owners, developers and construction companies. Incentives are offered and high-value contracts are awarded by host state governments to attract foreign capital and expertise. For foreign investors, including construction contractors, these opportunities can deliver significant rewards. But they also present certain risks. Changes in government, policy adjustments and disturbances such as war and civil unrest can lead to states taking actions that have the effect of preventing project work or destroying the value of project contracts. In these circumstances, international investment law – generally in the form of international investment treaties or free trade agreements – may provide injured foreign companies with recourse to international arbitration to recover losses they have suffered.
Peter Harris & Sean Marriott, members of Clifford Chance's International Arbitrational Group in Perth, represent investors in claims against foreign governments on a daily basis. They will present on the international law rights and remedies that may be available for contractors who experience difficulties with foreign governments. Drawing on their experiences, they will also provide case studies concerning real life investor-state disputes that have occurred on major projects around the world. As well as covering the law and practice of investment treaty arbitration, the presentation will provide guidance on how to protect contractors at the front end, how to deal with government before and during a project, and how best to ensure, if it does all go wrong, that international law rights are available to assist resolution of the dispute or improve project recovery.
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