Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO
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Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO

Edited by Geert Van Calster and Denise Prévost

This Handbook provides state-of-the-art analysis by leading authors on the links between the international trade regime and health and environment concerns – concerns that make up an increasing proportion of WTO dispute settlement. Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO surveys fields as diverse as climate change mitigation, non-communicable diseases, nanotechnology and public health care. The volume brings to the fore the debates and complexities surrounding these issues and their implications for the international trading system.
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Chapter 1: The precautionary principle in conflicts law perspectives

Alexia Herwig and Christian Joerges


In this contribution, we pursue two objectives. The first is to explore a new potential of the conflicts law approach which has first been developed at the European University Institute in Florence and in the context of two interdisciplinary projects and proffered as the appropriate constitutional form for transnational law. The second is to discuss in an exemplary way instances of a conflicts law approach or a lack thereof in the jurisprudence of World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement bodies and in European law dealing with the precautionary principle or with legal norms reflective of precautionary thinking. We do not aim to give an exhaustive overview of how the relevant laws and tribunals deal or have dealt with the precautionary principle or norms based on it. This, however, does not mean that the cases were selected at random. The cases we discuss are of exemplary systemic relevance for how the balance between trade and nontrade (health and environmental) concerns was struck in the legal texts under consideration.

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