Month: February 2024

The UK’s Withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty Poses Risks for Energy Affordability and Security

By Professor David Collins, The City Law School

Scarcely covered by the mainstream media, this Thursday (22 Feb 2024) the UK announced the withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), following nine EU Member States, including G7 countries France, Germany and Italy.

Entering into force in 1998 and signed by the UK in 1994, the ECT is an international investment agreement (IIA) designed to encourage foreign direct investment in the energy sector by providing protection to foreign investors against excessive governmental interference, such as expropriation or the denial of justice in administrative or legal proceedings. The ECT has been perhaps the most significant of all the IIAs, spawning more investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) claims than any other single treaty and with it, a host of awards issued by ad hoc tribunals. By falling under the protection of the ECT, foreign investors were granted assurances that they could rely on international law rather than the unfamiliar and unstable legal systems in host countries. Investment in the energy sector is especially needful of stable and reliable legal protections because of the extended period between making an investment and achieving a return. Under the ECT, investors may seek compensation for the loss of their future profits, not merely sustained losses. Many of the investment projects facilitated by the ECT related to infrastructure privatization projects in former Soviet countries.

Very much a product of its time, the ECT faced growing criticism for its continued encouragement of investment into energy derived from fossil fuels, paying insufficient attention to the modern fixation on climate change mitigation via renewable sources. Announcing the UK’s withdrawal, the Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero stated that continued ECT membership was incompatible with the country’s transition towards Net Zero. With this justification in mind, the UK’s withdrawal from the ECT could not have come at a worse time; it was acknowledged recently that the true costs of the UK’s Net Zero transition were wildly understated – costing trillions of pounds more than had been reported to parliament. Government ministers were accused by former Chancellor of the Exchequer of being ‘systematically dishonest’ about the costs of the plans.

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City-EIAG Seminar


A Security Cooperation Pact and Other Ideas for Strengthening the Relationship

City Law School

28 February 2024 at 6pm

The City Law School, City, University of London and the European and International Analysts Group (EIAG), supported by Henderson Chambers, invite you to a seminar to discuss a possible security pact between the UK and the EU and other ideas for strengthening the post-Brexit relationship.

A background paper to the seminar by Sir Julian King, and published by the EIAG, can be found here.

The world has changed since Brexit. Security and defence challenges have become more urgent and more diverse. Russia is waging a relentless war of conquest against Ukraine and there are grounds for uncertainty as to the long-term commitment of the United States to European defence. Add to that, increasing instability in the Middle East, spilling over into the interruption of the economically vital trade-route through Suez, and an increasingly aggressive international stance by the world’s authoritarian powers. Taking all this into account, the security situation in Europe is arguably more perilous than at any time since the end of World War II.

The UK and the EU face the same challenges, and could face them with more confidence together. With Brexit behind us, how should the UK set about re-framing its relationship with its neighbourhood, as one rooted in and justified by the reality of today’s challenges?

The seminar will explore the prospects for developing a new security pact between the UK and the EU, and other practical opportunities there may be for moving towards a closer and more structured relationship in the future.

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London Universities 14th Annual Maritime Law and Policy Postgraduate Research Conference

The London Universities Maritime Law and Policy Research Group (LUMLPG) provides a network of mutual support and a forum for the exchange and promotion of ideas and information on maritime law and policy. In this vein, the LUMLPG will hold its 14th annual place on Friday, 24 May 2024.

The conference brings together academics, postgraduate researchers, practitioners and other industry professionals to present their research, areas of work, and opinions. This is an opportunity to engage with an informed audience from various parts of the maritime sector.

This year’s conference will take place at the City Law School. The venue address is TLG11, The City Law School, Sebastian St, London EC1V 7HD.

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