The Appellate Body in Dire Straits: Taking a Step Back on Consent to Jurisdiction
19 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2018 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019
Date Written: December 1, 2018
The WTO is facing difficult times as the renewal of the members of its Appellate Body seems to be in a deadlock. The opposition of some Members of the Organization to the process means the number of adjudicators is slowly dwindling. In this paper, we put this problem in context, by linking it to the greater concerns about consent in international adjudication. Consent amounts to the effective transfer of adjudicative power to a given tribunal. It is therefore argued that the non-renewal of AB members amounts to a withdrawal of consent by the parties concerned, be it legal or not. Should the problem persist, the WTO's dispute settlement system could be profoundly impacted, transforming it into a mere conciliatory body.
Keywords: WTO, world trade organization, dispute settlement, consent, appellate body, panel, withdrawal, DSS, AB, DSB, dispute settlement body, jurisdiction, international trade, DSU, obligation to consent
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