Imagine a world where transnational corporations don’t have to follow the same laws as everyone else, but instead have their own corporate courts, where the law is tailored to their interests. Not courts where the companies are put on trial, but where corporations sue governments for huge sums of money and bully countries to get their own way.
It sounds like dystopian science fiction, but corporate courts are real. Formally known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), these special privileges are granted to transnational companies by rules in trade and investment deals.
ISDS has enabled corporations to sue countries for doing almost anything they don’t like – environmental protection, regulating finance, renationalising public services, anti-smoking policies, you name it.
ISDS is an unjust mechanism that should have no place in the UK’s trade and investment policy.