The Energy Charter Treaty contains a comprehensive and tailor-made system for settling disputes on matters covered by the Treaty. The two basic forms of binding dispute settlement are ad hoc arbitration for disputes between Contracting Parties on the interpretation or application of almost all aspects of the Treaty (except for competition and environmental issues), and investment arbitration for disputes between an investor and a Contracting Party. Nevertheless, the starting point for all these mechanisms is the desirability of an amicable agreement between the parties to any dispute.
 
Dispute settlement mechanisms available under the Energy Charter Treaty
 
    Good Offices of the Energy Charter Secretariat: The Secretariat, as a trusted third party, can facilitate parties in a conflict to establish contact and to begin to explore ways to reach an amicable settlement. The Secretariat can also offer negotiation support. The good offices can be provided at any point in time and in relation to disputes between Contracting Parties, as well as between investors and Contracting Parties.
    Disputes between investors and Contracting Parties: In the event of an alleged breach of the Treaty's investment provisions and if the dispute cannot be settled amicably within a period of three months, Article 26 allows investors to submit the dispute for its resolution to the courts or administrative tribunals of the Contracting Party to the dispute; in accordance with any applicable, previously agreed dispute settlement procedure; or to international arbitration or conciliation.