World Trade Law

The web site has two aspects. First, there is the free portion of the site, which is available to anyone who surfs the web. This aspect of the site consists of several elements, including the following: well-organized and easy-to-access primary source documents related to international trade law; a large collection of links to other sources of information on the web; and notifications of trade-related news headlines.

Second, we also offer our own analysis of certain trade law issues through an annual subscription service we call the"Dispute Settlement Commentary Service." Through this service, we provide summary and critical analysis of all new WTO Panel and Appellate Body reports within 1-3 weeks after they are circulated to the WTO Members. In addition, we have completed this same summary and analysis for all past WTO reports, and have created an index of legal provisions and terms for these reports. Since the launch of this site, we have added additional features to the subscriber area, including a statistical database with searchable/sortable tables covering statistics related to dispute settlement and a DSC Blog on which we post memos concerning dispute settlement issues.

The site is intended to be of use to anyone around the world who is interested in trade law issues. We have tried to develop features that appeal to a wide variety of people who might be interested in trade law, including: trade lawyers in private practice; government officials and employees of international organizations; professors and students; trade policy experts; think tanks; and non-governmental organizations. We note that while we have both been affiliated with certain entities in the past (Mr. Lester at the WTO and prior to that in private practice; Ms. Leitner in private practice), the web site and the Dispute Settlement Commentary service are entirely independent of any other organization. Our hope is to be as objective as possible when we provide information. For primary source documents, this task is easy -- we simply organize the documents in a user-friendly manner. For the value-added we provide through our Dispute Settlement Commentary service, it is more difficult. However, we strive to offer a balanced view of each decision. With the summary part of each Commentary, our goal is simply to set forth a clear and concise synopsis of all of the issues decided. In the analysis section, we offer a critique of selected issues in each decision. In doing so, we make every effort to be objective, and do not favor particular parties in disputes. Rather, we try to offer our view as to the best legal conclusion for each issue. A quick read of a few of our Commentaries will hopefully demonstrate that we have adhered to the principle of "equal opportunity" in our criticism -- we have been critical of the Appellate Body, of panels, and of arguments made by a wide range of interested parties.

Access these materials.