Improving WTO Dispute Settlement Procedures: Issues & Lessons from the Practice of Other International Courts and Tribunals.

AutorYoung, Lucy

Improving WTO Dispute Settlement Procedures: Issues & Lessons from the Practice of Other International Courts and Tribunals Edited by Freidl Weiss London, Cameron May, 2000; 430 pages, hardcover

The choice of subject for this book was occasioned by the abortive Seattle Ministerial Conference of the WTO (World Trade Organization) of December 1999, which was to have launched a new Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, the so called Millennium Round, including "a full review of dispute settlement rules and procedures under the WRO ... four years after its entry into force". The main reason for Seattle's failure was a seemingly irreconcilable clash of negotiating objectives pursued by developed industrialized countries, including those of the European community and by developing countries, including Least Developed Countries. In addition, a wide variety of nongovernmental organizations including environmental groups, trade unions and developments, proved to be vehement in defining the WTO as "the enemy" rather than as a vehicle for pursuing civil society interests.

The pro-active idea for the book was inspired by the high level of ongoing discussions and analysis which continued in various circles in the wake of the serious setback of the Seattle Ministerial conference. There was a real need for ideas to be expressed and to provoke continuous debate and discussion. In general, there was scarcely any serious disagreement on the need to further strengthen the international trading system administered by the WTO and, as an integral part of the same, the institutional and procedural rules governing the resolution of disputes which arise from the system.

This selection of essays is based on the idea that a substantial reform of the WTO system of dispute settlement may benefit from the insights and lessons to be from the practice of other international courts, especially the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The discussion on how to improve WTO Dispute Settlement Procedures is an intrinsic part of the ongoing debate on how best to find, interpret and apply the rule of law in multilateral trade relations. Searchingly analytical papers from eminent specialists, academics and legal practitioners examine various procedural aspects of the GATT/WTO system of dispute settlement. Equal focus is Brought to bear upon comparable dispute settlement procedures used by the ICJ and by the ECJ.

The editor Friedl Weiss summoned together not only a group of practicing lawyers and QC's, but also a dynamic and harmonious group of distinguished academics and other well...

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