CIGI’s International Law Research Program (ILRP) is delighted to host the following Public Half Day Conference on the WTO Dispute Settlement System.

The WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) has served the multilateral trading system well since the founding of the WTO. Its system of compulsory jurisdiction, transparent and predictable procedures, appellate review and negative consensus establishment of panels and adoption of reports have allowed it to become one of the most prolific and effective systems of international adjudication in history.

The past success of the DSM does not, however, guarantee its future success. A number of practical, institutional and political challenges have converged to pose the greatest threat to the DSM since its creation. The increasing complexity of disputes compound growing workload problems, which in turn heighten concerns about access and inclusiveness. Simmering disagreements about the function of the system have been exacerbated by the recent populist skepticism of the institutions of globalization. These pressures have culminated in an impasse in the appointment of new Appellate Body members that threatens to grind the system to a halt at a time when it may be needed most.

What needs to be done to preserve the effectiveness of the DSM? How can governance be improved to strengthened the system? How can existing adjudicative practices be improved to respond to the new environment? This two - part panel brings together former members of the Appellate Body and the WTO secretariat, government practitioners and other experts in dispute resolution. They will engage in a wide - ranging debate of the challenges facing the DSM and consider options for strengthening it so that it may sur vive the turbulent times facing the multilateral trading system.

Event Speakers

Photo of Hugo Perezcano Díaz

Hugo Perezcano Díaz

Former Deputy Director, International Economic Law

Hugo Perezcano Díaz was the deputy director of International Economic Law at CIGI.

James Bacchus

James Bacchus

Senior Fellow

James Bacchus is a CIGI senior fellow, as well as the Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida. 

Photo of Oonagh Fitzgerald

Oonagh Fitzgerald

Director, International Law

As director of international law at CIGI, Oonagh Fitzgerald established and oversees CIGI’s international law research agenda, which includes policy-relevant research on issues of international economic law, environmental law, intellectual property law and innovation, and Indigenous law.

Valerie Hughes

Valerie Hughes

Senior Fellow

Valerie Hughes is senior counsel with Bennett Jones LLP in Ottawa, Canada, where she practices international trade law. She is also a senior fellow at CIGI and an adjunct assistant professor at the Faculty of Law of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, where she teaches international trade law. Valerie served as director of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Legal Affairs Division (2010-2016) and director of the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat (2001-2005). 

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Program Agenda: Saving the Crown Jewel 336.36 KB
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