LAW4526 - World Trade Organisation dispute settlement - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Not offered in 2017


Topics covered are:

  1. introduction and history of the GATT/WTO system;
  2. the nature of disputes and dispute settlement;
  3. dispute settlement organs of the WTO;
  4. dispute settlement rules and procedures;
  5. elements of non-violation complaints and GATT/WTO jurisprudence;
  6. jurisdiction, standing and essential elements of a claim:
    1. against whom may a claim be brought?
    2. the proper complainant
    3. activities which may be challenged.
  7. consultations, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution:
    1. consultations
    2. good offices, conciliation and mediation
    3. arbitration.
  8. establishment of the panel process:
    1. panel composition
    2. terms of reference.
  9. panel functions, process and procedure:
    1. powers and obligations of panels
    2. due process and procedure
    3. timing and urgency
    4. substantive stages of the panel process
    5. multiple complaints and joinder
    6. third party rights
    7. standard of review
    8. panel report - recommendations and rulings.
  10. sources of law and their interpretation;
  11. evidence, fact finding; burden and standards of proof;
  12. implementation and remedies;
  13. appeals and the appellate process:
    1. appellate Body Jurisdiction
    2. rights to appeal
    3. grounds of appeal - Law vs Facts.
  14. additional dispute settlement provisions - treatment of developing countries.


A candidate who has successfully completed this unit should:

  1. be familiar with the history and objectives of the GATT and WTO and ongoing negotiations;
  2. be familiar with the major WTO dispute settlement bodies and their decisions (by ad hoc panels and the appellate body);
  3. be able to explain the approach of the WTO to evidence and to procedure; and
  4. understand the key challenges that apply to national import and export behaviour and explain the likely outcomes, through the cases, and other dispute resolution techniques.


Open book examination (3 hours): 75%; assigned seminar presentation: 10%; and short response papers (3 x 400 words each):15%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information