IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Scales of Trade--Reflections on the Growth and Functions of the WTO Adjudicative Branch

Listed author(s):
  • Piet Eeckhout
Registered author(s):

    This essay argues that, increasingly, international economic law develops through adjudication. It therefore aims to offer some reflections on the growth and functions of the WTO adjudicative branch, which is of central importance to international economic law, by reviewing a number of important developments in the case law. The essay shows that important policy questions are submitted to adjudication. It aims to identify some of those questions, and to establish some parameters for WTO adjudication. It focuses in particular on the case law concerning the GATT and GATS General Exceptions, which, notwithstanding their generality and indeterminacy, occupy a central position in the resolution of international trade disputes. The essay takes issue with the use of economic concepts such as cost-effectiveness and cost--benefit balancing to characterize the adjudicative process of applying the General Exceptions. It argues that these concepts are inappropriate for analysing questions about trade versus environment/health/morals, etc. Instead, the essay suggests that legal theory offers further guidance for developing tools aimed at limiting adjudicative discretion. The essay approves of the weighing-and-balancing test which the Appellate Body has introduced, and contends that there is now a richer toolkit for tackling these sensitive cases and questions. Oxford University Press 2010, all rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of International Economic Law.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 3-26

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:13:y:2010:i:1:p:3-26
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:13:y:2010:i:1:p:3-26. 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: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    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.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.