Substance and Style – How the WTO Adjudicators Legitimize their Decisions
The dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the most active and influential international courts. How the WTO dispute settlement bodies decide cases was the topic of a presentation that Christiane Gerstetter, Senior Fellow in Ecologic's legal team, gave at an international law conference in Oslo. The presentation slides are available for download.
The WTO dispute settlement mechanism can be invoked by one state that is a Member of the WTO if it it holds that another WTO Member has vioated WTO provisions. In her presentation, Christiane Gerstetter argued that the WTO adjudicators make choices in their decisions that can be explained in terms of the need of legitimizing their decision. She argued that for a judicial decision to be accepted as legitimate both the substantive outcome (i.e. how law is interpreted in substance) and the way that a judicial body supports its substantive decisions by arguments, are relevant. She discussed both of these dimensions with regard to WTO dispute settlement. Her presentation was part of a session entitled "Reasserting State Leadership: Can Governments Step Back from Judicialization?".
It was part of the annual conference of the European Society for International Law tentitled "The Judicialization of International Law - A Mixed Blessing?". The conference is one of the most important annual events for academics working in the area of international law within the EU.