Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Geert De Baere and Jan Wouters
Chapter 5: The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization
Since its establishment in 1995, the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization has been the most frequently used international mechanism for the resolution of state-to-state disputes. Within this system for the resolution of trade disputes, the WTO Appellate Body serves as a permanent court of last resort, which has established itself over the past 18 years in what is now, in all but name, the ‘World Trade Court’. This chapter focuses first on facts and figures regarding WTO dispute settlement in general and the WTO Appellate Body in particular. It discusses the number and nature of the disputes brought to, and resolved by, the WTO since 1995, the identity of the complainants and respondents in these disputes, and the incidence of, and (most importantly) compliance with, rulings of WTO-inconsistency. Subsequently, this chapter focuses on the genesis and key features of WTO dispute settlement in general, and the Appellate Body in particular. It discusses the jurisdiction of and access to the WTO dispute settlement system, its objectives, its institutions and their mandate, the remedies for breach of WTO law and the process of WTO dispute settlement. By way of conclusion, this chapter looks at the main problem of the WTO dispute settlement system and the Appellate Body. While anything but perfect, the WTO dispute settlement system is a remarkable system.
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