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European Legal Culture and WTO Dispute Settlement: Thirty Years of Socio-Legal Transplants from Brussels to Geneva

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals
Author: Tommaso Soave1
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  • 1 Central European University, Vienna, Austria; Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
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Abstract

This article argues that the legal culture of EC/EU institutions has made a significant contribution to the ethos, the style, and the tone of WTO dispute settlement bodies. Areas of alignment between the two regimes include the self-perceived role of adjudicators vis-à-vis their political environment and the jurisprudence on the ‘necessity’ of non-trade measures. Based on these premises, the article traces some of the social and professional pathways through which European sensibilities and perspectives have found their way from Brussels (and Luxembourg) to Geneva. In particular, it describes the convergent trajectories of the EC/EU and the GATT/WTO professional communities. The goal of the analysis is to provide a fresh outlook on the ongoing diplomatic stalemate surrounding the future of the Appellate Body and WTO dispute settlement at large.

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