Under this agreement disputes are heard by a specially convened CPTPP Court. These you will hear referenced as a Corporate Court or a Kangaroo Court and for good reason:
- The Courts are composed of 3 Judges, with 1 appointed by the Country being sued, 1 by the plaintiff corporation and 1 by mutual agreement. If there is no mutual agreement then the third Judge is drawn from a hat composed of all suitable Judges on the roster. With 500 member corporations all putting up their own in-house lawyers as judges, and only 11 Countries, Countries are screwed by design.
- The "Judges" are not judges per se, they are actually lawyers working for other companies to the agreement. So a Pfizer lawyer could be called to adjudicate on a matter between Merck and the Australian Government, then of course a Merck lawyer could be called by Pfizer to sit in a case of theirs. What chance does justice have?.
- The other allowable "Judges" are Academics. Now since the payment for officiating is not contained in the agreement, Merck could convene a Court with an Academic as a Judge and pay that person a million dollars. Finding in favour of Corporations will very quickly become a lucrative career for Academics.
Not only are the Courts weighted against Australia, so are the penalties. The Court can award any judgement they like. Had the cigarette plain packaging case been brought under the ISDS provisions of the CPTPP, the Court could have issued an instruction to overturn the legislation, and ordered damages of any figure they like, plus so much for every day the overturn was disputed. Remember the largest ISDS claim to day was $147 billion by Phillip Morris, and the largest award to a Corporation was $1.9 billion.
The ISDS provisions, and chances of success under the new system, will encourage claims and awards that could bankrupt a country. Which of course is the point - to ensure compliance by Countries to whatever the Corporation wants. This is why I say the TPP robs sovereignty and ensures Corporations can do whatever they want.
With the TPP agreement now public, we know the actual text of Chapter 28, Dispute Resolution.
Not only can the Government be sued, so can Government Representatives such as the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, local Corporations and even citizen's groups can be sued if they are taking an action that may cost Corporations money. Nominally it does have to be an action that breaches the terms of the TPP. I say nominally because the TPP is written so broadly that it can be used for just about anything, as our section here explains.
The basics of the ISDS claims are:
- Anyone can make a claim, they dont have to be affected by the action;
- There is no screening, the defending party must defend all actions taken against it, allowing for wholesale intimidation of Local Government & Community Groups by Corporations;
- The dispute is not handled under the law of the land, the TPP and it's case law provides 100% of the law on the matter;
- The dispute is not adjudged by local courts - even the High Court of Australia has no jurisdiction, despite our COnstitution mandating their involvement in any claim against the Commonwealth.
- The court to hear a dispute is convened from a pool of academics and corporate lawyers working for the various companies that are signatories to the CPTPP, in effect Mega Corp will rule on it's own dispute;
- There is no limit to damages, any award for any amount can be made;
- The only appeal is back to the Court that made the ruling, which is to say there is no appeal;
- Leaving the CPTPP does not stop any claims outstanding at the time the country left;
- Judgements are policed by the United Nations World Bank and World Trade Organisation.
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