Journal Article

STANDARD OF REVIEW IN WTO LAW

Claus-Dieter Ehlermann and Nicolas Lockhart

in Journal of International Economic Law

Volume 7, issue 3, pages 491-521
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 1369-3034
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3758 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jiel/7.3.491
STANDARD OF REVIEW IN WTO LAW

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There is no escaping standard of review in WTO dispute settlement. While the contested national measure and the claims made change from case to case, standard of review is a constant feature. In every case, panels and the Appellate Body must decide how intensively a measure should be reviewed and how much deference should be granted to national decision makers. Standard of review, therefore, plays a central role in defining the powers of national authorities in the trade field. In recent years, perhaps the most frequent criticism made of panels and the Appellate Body is that they have been overly intrusive in their review of national measures. This article explores the role and operation of standard of review in WTO law. It begins with the basic requirement that panels must make an ‘objective assessment of the matter’ and argues that this requirement does not specify the precise nature or intensity of review that panels undertake. The article goes on to consider how panels and the Appellate Body have approached the review of legal and factual determinations, as well as of different types of national measure. In particular, the article examines the review of trade remedy measures, SPS and TBT measures, and measures covered by the GATT 1994. The case-law indicates that the character of review changes with the nature of the determination at issue and also with the obligations in the covered agreement in consideration. The article suggests that the differing approaches to review reflect differences in the covered agreements themselves regarding the respective roles of panels and national authorities.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Financial Law ; Public International Law ; Economics

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