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WTO Dispute Settlement: a Check-up


Edited By Jacques H.J. Bourgeois, Marco Bronckers and Reinhard Quick

The dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organisation has been referred to as the jewel in the crown of the WTO. Reviewing more than
twenty years of the system’s operation, this volume takes stock by providing an in-depth analysis of key issues that have emerged. The book collects and updates papers by a group of eminent experts that were presented at an international conference at the College of Europe in Bruges. The fundamental question of whether the system is in good shape or whether changes are necessary is addressed through five themes.

Firstly, the book looks at the interpretive function of the dispute settlement system and questions whether rulings are capable of "gap-filling". Secondly, under the heading ‘Jurisdiction and Applicable Law’ we cover the thorny issue of how public international law can be integrated into the dispute resolution system. Thirdly, regarding problems associated with implementation, we ask whether the system ensures satisfactory compliance with its rules and rulings or whether financial remedies need to be added. Furthermore, through themes four and five we compare the WTO dispute settlement system with the dispute settlement system contained in the Free Trade Agreements, as well as the investor-state arbitration system (ISDS). We investigate how these two different systems can influence each other and learn from one another. With respect to the reform debate on ISDS, for example, the question was raised whether the WTO dispute settlement system could be considered as a model for such a reform.

This review comes to the conclusion that the system is functioning, if not perfectly, at least reasonably well. Where problems are identified, solutions are suggested to improve the system.

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Series index


College of Europe Studies

Europe is in a constant state of flux. European politics, economics, law and indeed European societies are changing rapidly. The European Union itself is in a continuous situation of adaptation. New challenges and new requirements arise continually, both internally and externally. The College of Europe Studies series exists to publish research on these issues done at the College of Europe, both at its Bruges and its Warsaw campus. Focused on the European Union and the European integration process, this research may be specialised in the areas of political science, law or economics, but much of it is of an interdisciplinary nature. The objective is to promote understanding of the issues concerned and to make a contribution to ongoing discussions.

Series Editors Professors Olivier Costa, Inge Govaere, Sieglinde Gstöhl, Phedon Nicolaides and Pascaline Winand

Series Titles

No. 18 – Simon SCHUNZ, European Union Foreign Policy and the Global Climate Regime, 2014, 371 p., ISBN 978-2-87574-134-9.

No. 17 – Inge GOVAERE & Dominik HANF (eds.), Scrutinizing Internal and External Dimensions of European Law/Les dimensions internes et externes du droit européen à l’épreuve. Liber Amicorum Paul Demaret, 2013, 882 p., ISBN 978-2-87574-085-4.

No. 16 – Michele CHANG & Jörg MONAR (eds.), The European Commission in the Post-Lisbon Era of Crises. Between Political Leadership and Policy Management, 2013, 298 p., ISBN 978-2-87574-028-1.

No. 15 – Dieter MAHNCKE & Sieglinde GSTÖHL (eds.), European Union Diplomacy. Coherence, Unity...

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