UNCITRAL Rules on transparency in treaty-based investor-State arbitration


The UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration, also known as the UNCITRAL Transparency Rules, were adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in 2013. These rules aim to enhance transparency and public accessibility in investor-state arbitration proceedings.

Key features of the UNCITRAL Transparency Rules include:

  1. Publication of key documents: Parties are required to make publicly available certain documents relating to the arbitration, such as the notice of arbitration, pleadings, written submissions, and final awards.
  2. Establishment of the Transparency Registry: The UNCITRAL Secretariat maintains a publicly accessible online registry called the Transparency Registry. It serves as a centralized repository for the publication of documents submitted by the parties.
  3. Participation of non-disputing parties: The Transparency Rules allow non-disputing parties, such as interested third-party individuals or organizations, to make written submissions to the tribunal on matters within the scope of the arbitration.
  4. Open hearings: By default, hearings are to be open to the public. However, the tribunal may decide, upon the request of a party or a non-disputing party, to hold closed hearings for certain reasons, such as protection of confidential information.
  5. Provision of information to the public: Parties are encouraged to provide information about the proceedings to the public through their websites or other means.

It is important to note that the UNCITRAL Transparency Rules apply to arbitrations conducted under investment treaties concluded after April 1, 2014, and to cases arising under treaties concluded before that date if the parties agree to apply the rules. The rules are intended to promote transparency, accountability, and public participation in the investor-state arbitration process, addressing concerns about the perceived lack of transparency in these proceedings.

The UNCITRAL Transparency Rules have gained significant traction in recent years, with many countries and arbitration institutions incorporating them into their arbitration practices and rules. They have contributed to a broader trend toward increased transparency in investor-state dispute settlement.

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