WorldTradeLaw.net provides unique and helpful Dispute Settlement Commentaries (DSC's) to fee-paying subscribers (such as USF's Zief Law Library). WorldTradeLaw.net also has some free information, such as GATT and WTO Panel Reports, WTO Appellate Body Reports, and the key legal texts, and documents relating to the WTO negotiating history.
DSCs are relatively brief analysis of all WTO Appellate Body reports, Panel Reports and arbitrations. They are written by trade law experts and include background, a summary of findings, and commentary. They excellent introductions to the much longer WTO documents.
Here are links to some of the key features of the WorldTradeLaw.net site.
These abridgments are useful in situations where it is not possible to read the entire (and often extraordinarily long) report.
The WTO's Dispute Settlement Gateway is a great place to find dispute cases, dispute documents, and information about the dispute settlement process. This box highlights some of the Gateways most useful features.
The WTO's Documents Online gives access to all types of WTO documents, not just dispute settlement reports. In addition to a kludgy browse function, there are two search options:
Other helpful features of the WTO site include the following:
The main Westlaw source for WTO and GATT documents is the WTO & GATT Panel Decisions source.
Sample searches —
adv: shrimp w/10 turtle
Title of action
adv: title(meat or beef and hormone) or
To restrict results to panel or appellate body reports, add one of the following to your search:
and prelim("report of the panel") or
and prelim("report of the appellate body")
For updates, search by title and document symbol, e.g.,
adv: title(update) and wt/ds58
Document symbol searching? It appears that it is not possible to search Westlaw's WTO & GATT Panels Decisions source for documents bearing a certain document symbol. The nearest equivalent is to search for references to a document symbol within the text of a document. For example:
adv: WT/DS58! [for references to all types documents] or
adv: WT/DS58/R! [for references to panel reports] or
adv: WT/DS58/AB! [for references to reports of appellate bodies]
It's best to combine document symbols with some other form or search, e.g.,
adv: WT/DS58! and prelim("report of the appellate body")
These time-saving tools help you find dispute documents quickly. They both organize citations to WTO decisions by topic and by treaty provision.
Each WTO document has a unique, identifying alpha-numerical document symbol. Knowing a bit about these symbols can help you search for documents related to a dispute, or for specific documents.
All WTO documents begin with: WT/.
Document symbols for disputes always begin with WT/DS. Next comes a number that identifies a particular dispute (e.g., WT/DS58). Then there are letters or numbers that help identify the specific document. So a typical dispute document might look something like: WT/DS58/22.
Appellate Body report document symbols contain the element .../AB/R. (For example: WT/DS58/AB/R.)
Panel report document symbols contain the element .../R (For example, WT/DS58/R.)