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Transparency and participatory aspects of investor-state dispute settlement in the EU ‘new wave’ trade agreements
This article scrutinizes the investment chapters in the new EU Free Trade Agreements from a transparency perspective. The article examines the claims that the dispute settlement mechanisms in the new treaties are sufficiently participatory and more transparent than their predecessors. Procedural standards related to confidentiality of proceedings shall be analysed in the context of existing transparency safeguards in investment arbitration. In addition to procedural guarantees of transparency, the article examines relevant substantive rules affecting participatory aspects of dispute settlement. Furthermore, the article discusses forum-shopping strategies of the parties in the field of investment-related disputes, including internal forum-shopping and parallel proceedings using different procedural mechanisms. In this context, lessons from other fields such as international commercial arbitration related to transparency (in cases in which public interest is present) are highlighted. The proposal for the establishment of an integrated, multilateral court for investment cases is also invoked.