ICSID Annulment: A Saga of Virtue and Vice - Chapter 11 - Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law - Volume 5
Silvia Marchili, Associate, King & Spalding
One of the perceived advantages of the ICSID system over others is that it is a self-contained system, not dependent on or reliant upon any national jurisdiction. Moreover, local courts cannot set aside ICSID awards, which can only be annulled by the self-contained annulment mechanism. By contrast, under other systems, awards may be challenged before local courts and have to be reviewed through an exequatur proceeding before being enforced. Hence, the idea of obtaining a final decision that cannot be challenged before a local court is very attractive to the users of the investment arbitration system.
But with time, this advantage has been undermined by the use the annulment mechanism to "appeal" decisions by certain parties. Unfortunately, this use that has been accepted by certain committees. Annulment, thus, has become an increasingly troublesome feature of the ICSID system.
That this trend could potentially have serious consequences in terms of the users' reaction or in the well-functioning of the system is rather obvious. But even in that context, the suggestion that a faulty application of the annulment mechanism by certain committees should result in the replacement of the system in whole for an appellate system appears to speak to the wrong question: the issue is not the system itself, but its application by certain committees.