The ACWL provides support at all stages of WTO dispute settlement.
The ACWL provides support in WTO panel, Appellate Body and implementation proceedings and in reaching mutually-agreed solutions.
A list of the disputes in which the ACWL has provided legal assistance is provided at this link.
The ACWL assists countries in all stages of the WTO’s regular panel and Appellate Body proceedings as complainants, respondents and third parties.
- initial assessment and preparation of the case;
- drafting consultations requests;
- drafting questions or answers to questions in preparation for consultations;
- drafting requests for the establishment of a panel and statements for meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body (“DSB”);
- advising on the composition of the panel and the submission of a request to the Director-General to compose the panel;
- drafting panel submissions and responses to written questions from the panel and other parties in the proceedings;
- advocacy at panel meetings, including answering questions from panels and parties at the meetings; and
- drafting notices of appeal and notices of other appeal, Appellate Body submissions and advocacy during Appellate Body hearings, including responding to questions.
The ACWL also provides support during the implementation phase of a dispute.
Thus, the ACWL represents countries in arbitrations to determine the reasonable period of time for implementation under Article 21.3(c) of the DSU; panel proceedings to determine compliance with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB under Article 21.5 of the DSU; and arbitration proceedings to determine the level of suspension of concessions under Article 22.6 of the DSU.
When providing assistance in a dispute settlement proceeding, the ACWL works in partnership with the developing country or LDC concerned.
Prior to the initiation of a dispute, the ACWL lawyers prepare a legal opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the case. The ACWL lawyers work together with delegates and capital-based officials to prepare for the consultations with the other party.
During panel, Appellate Body and other proceedings, the ACWL lawyers work together with these officials to draft the written submissions, oral statements and answers to questions.
In this manner, the ACWL combines its assistance in dispute settlement with capacity building.
The ACWL assists not only in the regular panel/Appellate Body proceedings of the WTO but also in other dispute settlement proceedings conducted in accordance with the DSU or a decision by an organ of the WTO, including good offices, conciliation, mediation and arbitration proceedings conducted pursuant to Articles 5 and 25 of the DSU.