The EU Approach to Overcome the WTO Dispute Settlement Vacuum: Article 25 DSU Interim Appeal Arbitration as a Bridge Between Renovation and Innovation



At midnight of 10 December 2019, the WTO Appellate Body ceased to be operational, as the US has been vetoing since May 2016 the selection of the members of the World Trade Court. The WTO dispute settlement system hence risks paralysis—a scenario occurring in case the losing party of a panel report appeals the latter “into the void,” i.e. before an Appellate Body with less than three judges. In response to this event, the European Union is developing an articulated approach to guarantee a rules-based international trade system and the principle of cooperation as the pillars of the governance of the global economy. One element of the EU approach is an initiative for an interim appeal arbitration procedure based on Article 25 of the DSU. The present work is devoted to the analysis of this contingency measure, which may represent a bridge between the renovation of the existing multilateral dispute settlement system and the innovation of a new two-level international judgment mechanism for settling trade controversies.



The author is very grateful to Professors Colin Picker, Meredith Kolsky Lewis, Junji Nakagawa, Peter-Tobias Stoll and Dr. Holger Hestermeyer for having been involved in the present research project and their important comments, together with those of the other experts participating at London Workshop, on the first version of this contribution, conveyed during the King’s College October 2019 meeting. The work is updated to January 1, 2020.


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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università di Bologna, Alma Mater StudiorumBolognaItaly

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