IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Standard of Review in WTO Law: An Analysis of Law, Legitimacy and the Distribution of Legal and Political Authority


  • Zleptnig, Stefan


Dispute settlement in the WTO is a sensitive issue and subject to a lively debate among trade scholars and engaged citizens. It is the purpose of this paper to focus on one particular aspect of judicial review within the WTO: the standard of review. This legal concept determines how much deference international adjudicators should give to the national fact-finding and to legal determinations. In other words, it reflects the relationship between supranational adjudication and national sovereignty. The paper will, firstly, analyse the standard of review's legal basis and the relevant case law. Next, a broad contextual discussion will explore the full significance of the standard of review within the global trading regime: it will be argued that the standard of review is an important "constitutional" feature of WTO law, framing and limiting the exercise of national sovereignty as well as judicial power. Furthermore, the standard of review plays a crucial role in resolving disputes involving sensitive non-economic (national) policies within the WTO system. Ultimately, this paper is concerned with the important issue of strengthening the legitimacy of the dispute settlement system, and a possible role for the standard of review herein. For this purpose, the author argues for a strong proceduralist bias for the standard of review, which could include a so-called "deliberation test".

Suggested Citation

  • Zleptnig, Stefan, 2002. "The Standard of Review in WTO Law: An Analysis of Law, Legitimacy and the Distribution of Legal and Political Authority," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 6, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:eiopxx:p0090

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Garrett, Geoffrey, 1992. "International cooperation and institutional choice: the European Community's internal market," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 533-560, March.
    2. Richard Corbett, 1992. "The Intergovernmental Conference on Political Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 271-298, September.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:128-142_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:eiopxx:p0090. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Editorial Assistant). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.