ICSID tribunal grants extension of time to file memorial due to impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), but not of length sought (Gran Columbia Gold v Columbia)

ICSID tribunal grants extension of time to file memorial due to impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), but not of length sought (Gran Columbia Gold v Columbia)

The arbitral tribunal in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitration proceedings between Canadian investor Gran Columbia Gold and the Republic of Columbia issued a procedural order determining the respondent's request for a seven-week extension of time for submission of its memorial on jurisdiction and counter-memorial on the merits. The respondent referred to restrictions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which it claimed had significantly affected its work. In summary, the tribunal was prepared to grant an extension of time, albeit one shorter than sought.

The claimant objected to the respondent's request, labelling it 'excessive and unreasonable'. The claimant made a counter-proposal, offering the respondents a two-week extension, while also proposing an commensurate extension to the claimant's overall time for its later reply.

While sympathetic to the difficulties posed by the pandemic, the tribunal did not consider that a seven-week extension was warranted. The tribunal granted the respondent four additional weeks to complete its memorial, on the understanding that no additional extension requests would be entertained for that filing, absent some new and 'particularly compelling developments of such nature as might justify adjourning the scheduled hearing dates'. The tribunal was not prepared to grant the claimant's any commensurate extension, but said it would address any potential extension request on its own merits if and when presented.

Case details:

• Gran Colombia Gold Corp v Republic of Colombia

• ICSID Case No. ARB/18/23

• Tribunal: Ms Jean Kalicki (President), Professor Bernard Hanotiau, and Professor Brigitte Stern

• Date of order: 6 May 2021​

Source: Gran Colombia Gold Corp. v. Republic of Colombia (ICSID Case No. ARB/18/23) Procedural Order No. 9 (May 6, 2021)

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