Harbour-funded claimant defeats jurisdictional objections in ICSID arbitration

We are pleased to announce that the ICSID tribunal in Rockhopper Italia SpA, Rockhopper Mediterranean Ltd, and Rockhopper Exploration Plc v Italian Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/14) rejected Italy’s objections to jurisdiction in an interim award.

We are funding Rockhopper’s claims against Italy for breaches of the investment protections provided by the Energy Charter Treaty (the ECT) in relation to Rockhopper’s investment in the Ombrina Mare oil and gas field located off the Italian coast in the Adriatic Sea.

Italy had objected to the tribunal’s jurisdiction primarily on the grounds that the ECT’s arbitration provisions cannot apply to intra-EU disputes, i.e., where the dispute is between an EU Member State and an investor of another EU Member State.

“The tribunal’s rejection of the so-called intra-EU objection was unanimous”, notes Dominic Afzali  “and its decision was consistent with each of the known prior decisions of tribunals considering the intra-EU objection in investment arbitrations to date.  The case should now proceed to a consideration of merits and damages.”

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