Who Controls WTO Dispute Settlement? Socio-Professional Practices and the Crisis of the Appellate Body
17 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 29, 2020
This article appraises the stalemate surrounding the future of the WTO Appellate Body through the lens of socio-professional practices. In particular, it argues that it argues that the ongoing struggle reflects a confrontation between, on the one hand, the ‘outer circle’ of trade diplomats and political stakeholders in the system and, on the other hand, the ‘inner circle’ of legal practitioners that run the adjudicative machinery in its routine operations. Moving from this premise, the paper traces some of the pathways that led to the progressive emergence and rise in power of the inner community of professional trade practitioners, with a particular focus on party counsel, secretariat lawyers, and specialized scholars. The operational closure of this community has caused resentment with some official stakeholders, who are now trying to regain control of a system that they feel has long eluded their scrutiny.
Keywords: WTO, Appellate Body, dispute settlement, backlash, law and social studies
JEL Classification: K33, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation