On April 28, 2023, the Secretariats of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) published the final draft of the Code of Conduct for Arbitrators in International Investment Disputes (the Code of Conduct). The draft concludes nearly six years of heated debates concerning two primary issues: disclosure obligations for arbitrators sitting on investment treaty tribunals; and “double-hatting,” (i.e., where a lawyer sits as arbitrator while at the same time acting as counsel in other investment treaty matters).
The ICSID and UNCITRAL Secretariats developed the Code of Conduct jointly, with substantive efforts led by Working Group III—UNCITRAL’s task force mandated to consider possible reforms to investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS). A separate Code of Conduct for Judges in International Investment Dispute Resolution was also published for judges who would sit on the prospective Multilateral Investment Court proposed by the European Commission.
On March 27-31, 2023, Working Group III finalized its revisions to the Code of Conduct during its forty-fifth session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, with representatives of more than ninety-five State delegations and fifty international organizations in attendance. The primary objective of the Code of Conduct is to provide principles and provisions that clarify the duties of international arbitrators—including impartiality, independence, and the conduct of proceedings with integrity, fairness, efficiency, and civility.
The final drafts of both the Code of Conduct for Arbitrators and the Code of Conduct for Judges will now be presented to UNCITRAL for formal adoption during its fifty-sixth annual session in Vienna on July 3-21, 2023.