This paper investigates whether the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Transparency Rules on treaty-based investor-state arbitration (Transparency Rules) increases transparency in investment arbitration fairly for all the participants. The hypothesis is that the Transparency Rules and the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (Mauritius Convention), work together as a mechanism that is more favourable for the host states than for the investor, and thereby anticipate the different roles of all participants in treaty-based arbitration.
Transparency brings pressure for a level playing field among disputing parties. In Detroit International Bridge Company v Government of Canada, UNCITRAL, PCA Case 2012-25, the tribunal accepted the prevalence of the in camera obligation in the procedural rules upon a general treaty obligation, and against the state’s arguments. In Philip Morris Asia Limited v The Commonwealth of Australia, UNCITRAL, PCA Case 2012-12, the tribunal accepted Australia’s need to disclose certain information under their national laws, but to exclude confidential business information as determined by the arbitral tribunal. Other decisions exist in which tribunals decide similarly.
This paper explores the actual principle of equality as applied by arbitral tribunals. Thereafter, it considers the legal nature of transparency under the Transparency Rules, standing alone and in combination with the Mauritius Convention. It concludes by determining how this discretion affects the level playing field of all the participants.ASA Bulletin