Industry News

WTO Appellate Body's New Procedure

March 13, 2015

    The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body has reformed the process for summarizing disputes in its final reports.  Previously, the Body took the time to summarize each case based on executive summaries that were filed in conjunction with written submissions.  Now, the executive summary must be under “250 words or 10% of the total word count of the written submission itself.”  The Appellate Body will attach the executive summaries to the final report, which will save time and allow the Body to redirect their resources.  While this is a new procedure for the Appellate Body, the concept has been applied to other WTO dispute settlement panels.  The members of the Appellate Body commented, “This change will enable members to ensure that their own positions and requests to the Appellate Body are accurately reflected, in their own words, in Appellate Body reports.”  This modification is in response to the increasing number of cases submitted to the Appellate Body.  The Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo, introduced this new procedure to alleviate the Appellate Body’s burden.  However, the new rules are only being implemented on a trial basis.

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