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Research Project: Protesting Austerity at Courts and Tribunals
Dr Ioannis Glinavos, i.glinavos (at) westminster.ac.uk, @iGlinavos
Stating the problem:
Individuals suffering negative impacts from austerity policies are looking for legal redress. There are three levels of legal action envisaged, one national (constitutional law violations for example), one international (ECHR on property violations, or EU law) and one supranational (ISDS).
The national route has met with limited success for specific categories of people, usually for employment rights or compensation for protected employment groups (Greece, Portugal). The international route has resulted in no successes, even though a number of applicants have tried to argue property rights violations at the ECtHR and attempted to bring claims all the way up to the CJEU.
The supranational route is perhaps more fruitful, but is only open to foreign investors, and protects a limited range of issues that are perhaps side-effects of economic adjustment and austerity.
An interesting aspect of the supranational route is the potential conflict between EU law and CJEU competences and investment tribunals when the dispute is an intra-EU dispute. Examples of these are Postova v Greece, Laiki v Greece and Eiser v Spain.
My research focuses on exploring the potential of ISDS to challenge economic reform/fiscal stability measures in Europe post financial crisis. This brings together elements of international investment law and EU law, alongside debates on public international law and the function of treaties at international and regional level. The aim is to offer clarity on investor rights and avenues for redress when states implement radical changes in economic policy.
Outlets and impact:
This research is of high policy significance as it relates to ongoing disputes at investment tribunals and brings in recent developments at EU law (Achmea decision). This has high impact potential both for the legal profession, investors and policy makers. There are also key theoretical points raised by this study both as to individual rights in dynamic policy environments and as to the coherence of EU law vis-à-vis the international investor protection legal framework. Finally, this research has direct impacts on Brexit too, as investors can protest the loss of rights engendered by the UK’s departure, utilising the same arguments investors in Europe are using to resist economic policy reversals. The research produces work in highly ranked academic journals and is disseminated via mass media.
Bibliography and outputs:
Peer Reviewed Papers
If you working in this area and would like to know more, please contact me.
It is possible for investors to successfully challenge the UK government for losses incurred as a result of Brexit.
The following links offer an introduction to the topic and an explanation as to why law firms are working on this issue.
A podcast on Brexit Lawsuits is available on
For an introduction to the podcast watch this video
For a layman’s explanation see the introduction to these suits in the Huffington Post (here).
For a more ‘lawyery’ explanation of why this is something the British government should worry about, see my article on Verfassungsblog (here) and an update on the Oxford Business Law Blog (here). In fact the government is worried about it, as evidenced in the statements by Liam Fox.
This research has been published in a major article on ICSID Review. Click here for the abstract and contact me directly for free access if you do not subscribe to the Journal.
Feel free to get in touch to share your thoughts or comment using the options below. There is after all a very lively debate on this topic.
Interested in #ISDS in the context of #Brexit?
Join us @UniWestminster to discuss #BrexitLawsuits
Please email to reserve your place on 12 June 2017.
A new project to bring informed commentary to a wider audience. We are launching a series of resistance podcasts under the banner #RemainerPodcast
Today Theresa May pulls the Brexit trigger. Read all about what this means for markets following the links below.
Theresa May is finally ready to cross her Rubicon by notifying the EU of Britain’s intention to leave the Union, using the famous Article 50 process. Brexit minister David Davis told us last week that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is not as frightening as some people think. Think about it this way, currently one can go online and order a fancy desk lamp from a French company and pay the price plus postage. If the lamp was coming from the USA however, customs duties will need to be paid by the customer (5.7%) once the goods have arrived in the UK but before they are delivered. She will also be charged import VAT at 20% and there will be a £8 handling fee to pay. The consequence is that buyers may well seek a domestically manufactured lamp instead. Wouldn’t this be a great thing for local manufacturers? It might, but it is likely that the domestic lamp manufacturer would incur similar charges when importing components to make their lamps. Further, they will find it more expensive to sell their lamps in Europe. Selling on WTO rules necessitates having appropriate licences and making export declarations to customs and following transport procedures. Increased demand from local customers will be probably offset by increasing costs of manufacture and a loss of market share in Europe. Mr Davis may not scare as easy as the consumers and businesses who will suffer the consequences. Brexit is happening regardless.
To summarise, we can say the following: Theresa May has selected two avenues for achieving Brexit. One is a so-called hard-Brexit (exit from the Single Market and the Customs Union) while the other is a presumed ‘no-deal’ Brexit (trade with Europe thereafter will be governed by WTO rules). Both options raise a series of significant dangers for the British economy, and crucially present a formidable challenge to the Treasury. The City has indicated that continuing business in London will require significant tax cuts as compensation for the loss of ‘passporting rights’ in the case of a hard-Brexit. Alternatively, a ‘no-deal’ fall back on WTO rules will cause significant upheaval to manufacturers, necessitating state aid to a number of industries. How will the Treasury fund either (or both) remains a burning question.
Good luck to all of us.
The IMF has been on its way out of the Greek Rescue programme for a while now.
The band-of-bandits of Mr Tsipras is getting ready to celebrate ousting the IMF. Before you join in the dance in Syntagma Square, listen to my podcast on what the IMF is, what it does and what it did (and did not do) in Greece.
This is a February 2017 lecture on what the IMF is and what it does. The discussion on the role of the IMF in Greece is from 44’30” onwards.
Enjoy and feel free to comment using the discussion options in this post.
One would say that both Trump and Brexit are the result of populism, complacency and … to be frank stupidity. But they have more things in common. They both benefit the financial industry. See my two recent articles on Newsweek exploring what this new order means for our banker friends.
What does a hard Brexit mean for the City of London? (read here)
What does Trump deregulation herald for Wall Street? (read here)