This volume is a unique study on the highly controversial issue of standard of review in WTO dispute resolution. Standards of review reflect the extent to which the WTO adjudication bodies can override the decisions taken by national authorities. As such they play a crucial role in shaping the balance of power and responsibility for decisions on factual and legal issues. In recent years they have gained unprecedented political and systemic significance in WTO panel proceedings. To what extent should panels and the Appellate Body review policy determinations of national or regional authorities of WTO members, both in terms of facts and law? Should they be guided by a policy of judicial restraint or should they review domestic measures de novo? This volume first addresses the tense relationship between international interdependence and national sovereignty against which WTO dispute settlement takes place. It then examines the notion of standards of review as one of the crucial elements in shaping the balance of power and responsibility for decisions on factual and legal issues.
The current state of law and practice which has emerged through panel and Appellate Body reports is analysed and critically assessed in a commentary on the evolution of, and inconsistencies amongst, the relevant cases. Standards of Review in WTO Dispute Resolution is a significant contribution to a perplexing subject. It also contributes to the clarification of basic issues of global Constitutionalism and the interface between domestic and international law.
Matthias Oesch is Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Economic Law of the University of Berne, and Legal Adviser in the Division of World Trade of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Switzerland.