EU'S top court rules corporate courts are compatible with EU law

30 April 2019

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled today that the controversial Investment Court System (ICS) is compatible with EU law. This ruling is a response to the Belgian government's request following a protracted stand-off on the EU-Canada trade deal CETA by Wallonia in 2016.

ICS is a mechanism proposed for EU trade deals with Canada, Singapore and Vietnam which gives foreign investors strong rights while limiting governments' power of regulation. If implemented, corporations would be able to take governments to court for environmental, social and human rights policies and standards, while victims of corporate crimes cannot sue corporations via these tribunals.

Paul de Clerck, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Legal is not the same as fair. Corporate courts remain an unacceptable system that give VIP rights to big business and challenge our social, environmental and health standards. They are deeply unpopular with EU citizens, and we call on EU member states to reject the ratification of CETA, the EU-Canada trade deal."

Over 550,000 EU citizens have signed a petition calling on the EU and European governments to end corporate courts and adopt binding environmental and human rights obligations on multinational corporations at the EU and UN levels.