1 Mar 2015 - by A4ID

Defusing the Debt Crisis

Jubilee Scotland is committed to raising awareness of sovereign debt arbitration. Work through A4ID has led to a parliamentary motion and a People’s Debt Tribunal in Scottish Parliament.

The background

On 8 October 2011 Jubilee Debt Campaign launched their Week of Action Against Global Debt campaign. Jubilee Scotland (JS) is trying to raise awareness of the issue of sovereign debt arbitration, and in particular, promote Scotland as a centre of arbitration.

In preparation for this campaign, A4ID provided Jubilee Scotland with legal support from Brodies Solicitors in Edinburgh, who aided JS in their understanding of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act.

The Arbitration Act is a vital piece of legislation in promoting Scotland as an arbiter of international debt.

Jubilee Scotland and A4ID

A4ID’s help has “significantly benefitted” JS who said that “Brodies have been invaluable in the development of the campaign” and that “their expertise and advice has helped JS to improve our understanding of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act and the legal aspects of our campaign goals and messages.”

Brodies’ research and legal opinions were vital in the development of Jubilee Scotland’s Defuse the Debt Crisis Technical Briefing. Brodies also supported Jubilee Scotland by assisting them to promote their campaign amongst the wider legal community.

This work helped to raise the profile of sovereign debt arbitration within Scotland and to place it high on the national political agenda including the lodging of parliamentary motion S4M00148, ‘Supporting Jubilee Scotland’s call for Debt Arbitration’ by Patrick Harvie MSP. So far the motion has been supported by 26 MSPs, a figure expected to rise as the campaign gathers momentum and supporters across Scotland lobby their MSPs with campaign postcards and activities.

On the 5 October 2011, ahead of International Debt Week (8-16 October 2011), JS held a People’s Debt Tribunal in the Scottish Parliament in order to highlight the issues involved in the sovereign debt disputes. As outlined in their blog, the case ended with the audience resoundingly in favour of cancellation of the Philippines’ sovereign debt.

Although not an accurate depiction of an actual arbitration process, the Tribunal was a great success as part of JS’ ongoing mission: to demonstrate the merits of debt arbitration as a transparent and neutral interaction between creditor and debtor.