Professor Nicolas Angelet and Emilie Gonin advised the Walloon region: Belgium asks the CJEU to rule on the CETA investment court

On 6 September 2017, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs of Belgium announced that Belgium had filed a request for an opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the compatibility of the investment court system in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with European law.   


Professor Nicolas Angelet, who recently joined Doughty Street as associate tenant, and Emilie Gonin advised the Walloon Region of Belgium, the driving force behind the request, on the initial draft of the request, which was then subject to negotiations between the Walloon Region and the Belgian Federal State.


The CJEU is now to opine on four key topics, namely whether the investment court system is compatible with:


1.      The CJEU’s exclusive jurisdiction to provide the final interpretation of the law of the European Union.  

2.      The non-discrimination principle and the practical effect requirement.    

3.      The right of access to the courts.

4.      The right to an independent and impartial judiciary.  This includes the conditions of remuneration and appointment of the members of the court as well as the provisions regarding court members’ potential conflicts of interest.


The decision of the CJEU will provide clarity on an issue that has given rise to controversy far beyond the legal community.  It will also have an impact on whether the investment court system will replace traditional investor state arbitration mechanisms in the future trade and investment treaties entered into by the European Union.   


A further report on this topic is available on the Global Arbitration Review (subscription only).