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The WTO Appellate Body's Exercise of Judicial Economy


  • Alberto Alvarez-Jiménez


The concept of judicial economy is well accepted in World Trade Organization (WTO) litigation, and it stands for the proposition that WTO panels do not need to rule on every single claim made by complaining parties, only on those required to settle the dispute in question. However, little has been discussed about the possibility of the Appellate Body's; exercising judicial economy itself. Article 17.12 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) seems to prevent the existence of judicial economy at the appeal level by providing that 'the Appellate Body shall address each of the issues raised in accordance with paragraph 6 during appellate proceeding'. However, despite this understanding of the scope of Article 17.12, held by some of the original members, the Appellate Body began freeing itself from a strict reading of this provision, and in its report in United States -- Subsidies on Upland Cotton, without any these members on the bench, made a clear statement in this regard. The article illustrates the types of judicial economy the Appellate Body is exerting, highlights its exceptional character and shows its implications for parties and for the adjudication of WTO disputes. Oxford University Press 2009, all rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alvarez-Jiménez, 2009. "The WTO Appellate Body's Exercise of Judicial Economy," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 393-415, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:12:y:2009:i:2:p:393-415

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel Esty, 1994. "Greening the GATT: Trade, Environment, and the Future," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 40.
    2. Arvind Subramanian, 1992. "Trade Measures for Environment: A Nearly Empty Box?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 135-152, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ryan Brutger & Julia Morse, 2015. "Balancing law and politics: Judicial incentives in WTO dispute settlement," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 179-205, June.

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