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Dispute settlement | Brussels, 18 December 2020. Last updated on 28 January 2021.

Candidates for dispute settlement activities under EU trade and investment agreements

Update, 28 January 2021 - Following the signature of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and EU on 30 December, the Commission has decided to extend the deadline of its call for applications to 15 February 2021. This extension concerns only candidates interested in being considered for appointment to the rosters under the TCA. Nevertheless, candidates answering the original call will also be considered (provided the nationality requirements are fulfilled as detailed in the call for applications). As such, candidates that have applied or will apply before the original deadline of 1 February do not need to do so again.

Dispute settlement is an important part of implementing the EU’s trade and investment agreements with third countries. The European Commission is responsible for ensuring that it functions properly.  

This includes:

  • appointing arbitrators or experts in specific dispute settlement cases, and;
  • establishing:
    • rosters of pre-appointed arbitrators;
    • rosters of trade and sustainable development experts, and;
    • tribunal members of Investment Court Systems. 

The Commission maintains a pool of candidates from which it will draw qualified individuals for specific agreements. Individuals will be proposed by the Commission to the Council, which will decide on their appointments. The lists are subsequently agreed with the third country concerned, typically by a decision of a joint committee.

The Commission – in conjunction with Member States’ authorities – is now inviting applications to the pool of arbitrators or the separate pool of trade and sustainable development experts. Note that a call for candidates for the Investment Court Systems will take place at a later stage, when the agreements with such systems will enter into force.

A selection panel of experienced international judges and academics will vet the candidates to confirm their suitability for appointment. Recruitment to the panel has started. The Commission has published a call for applications for its nominee to the panel.

In line with its adherence to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge and support for its work, the Commission will seek to ensure gender balance in its list of proposals to the Council for the pool and in appointing arbitrators or trade and sustainable development experts in specific disputes.

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