WTO Dispute Settlement—Long Delays Hit the System

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- A recent increase in World Trade Organization (WTO) cases has strained resources in the WTO Secretariat and led to a notable slowdown in the dispute settlement process. In 2012, the WTO received the highest number of complaints in ten years, and activity remained elevated in 2013. Over the same period, the number of senior Secretariat lawyers decreased due to a policy implemented by then-Director General Pascal Lamy to freeze all staff promotions to senior grades and recruit only at junior levels

- These events have had a tangible impact on the process: The time to complete panel proceedings has increased by 50 percent—from an average of 13 months (400 days) for panels established in 2010 to an estimated 19.8 months (595days) for those established in 2013. WTO Panel reports are now routinely issued long after the maximum duration permitted by WTO rules. The WTO Secretariat has even been forced to delay panel proceedings in at least one instance until senior lawyers become available following the completion of other disputes.

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Topics:  International Trade Disputes, Settlement, WTO

Published In: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Updates, Civil Procedure Updates, General Business Updates, International Trade Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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