Member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) proposed changes to address the deadlock in the Appellate Body

26 Nov 2018

Member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – EU, Australia, Canada, China, Iceland, India, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland - published a proposal for specific changes to address the deadlock in the WTO Appellate Body. The proposal includes an increase to 9 full time working Appellate Body Members, with the term increased to 8 years, and new rules for outgoing members in order to increase efficiency and independence. In addition, the proposal sets measures to ensure that the appeal proceedings are concluded within 90 days (as set by WTO rules), explicitly excludes domestic legal issues from the subject matter jurisdiction, and mandates the Appellate Body to address only the issues necessary to resolve the dispute. The proposal foresees annual meetings between the WTO members and the Appellate Body in order to address trends in jurisprudence and any systemic issues. The proposal will be presented at the meeting of the WTO General Council on 12 December 2018.

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Arbitration is a dispute resolution mechanism available in place of traditional courts. Such mechanisms are used extensively to fill the gap engendered by the inability of current international private law to deal with Internet cases. An example is the Universal Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), which was developed by WIPO and implemented by ICANN as the primary dispute resolution procedure.

In arbitrations, decisions are made by one or more independent individuals chosen by the disputants. The mechanism is usually set out in a private contract, which also specifies issues as place of arbitration, procedures, and choice of law. International arbitration within the business sector has a long-standing tradition.


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