The Supreme Court has today ruled in favour of the CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement) case brought by Deputy Patrick Costello, TD for Dublin South Central.
This is a significant moment in protecting the integrity of our courts system and our constitution. This case raised important questions in relation to binding legal mechanisms which would grant corporations greater ability to potentially sue the State.
Costello brought this case on foot of concerns around the constitutional compatibility of specific provisions in CETA allowing for the creation of the Investor Court System to decide complaints by Canadian companies who invest in EU member states. He argued that this Investor Court System would be unconstitutional as it transfers vital elements of the State’s sovereignty to external institutions not accountable to the Irish legal system. Investor Courts are a real threat to climate action and progressive public policy. We can see the detrimental effect of Investor Courts in the Netherlands and Italy, both states being sued for billions through the Energy Charter Treaty when they tried to stop burning fossil fuels.
Costello speaking today on the judgement said, “This has been an extremely lengthy process which began last year when cabinet signalled their intention to ratify CETA by way of an Oireachtas vote. Since then, we have had a High Court ruling and this appeal to the Supreme Court. I want to thank my legal team for representing me so ably, my family for their encouragement and my supporters for their well wishes”.
In conclusion Deputy Costello stated “The courts have suggested that amendments to the Arbitration Act can be passed to enable ratification of CETA, however this will be legally complex and difficult. We should instead now reflect on do we want to be part of an investor court system at all”.