Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 September 2009
It has been five years since the Appellate Body was established in 1995. On this anniversary, it is time to reflect on the development of the Appellate Body as part of the institutional structure of the World Trade Organization (WTO). I will leave it to others to comment on whether the first five years' experience with the Appellate Body has been positive or negative for the WTO, in general, and dispute settlement, in particular. I will attempt, instead, to provide a history of the evolution of the Appellate Body as a standing, “quasi-judicial” international tribunal, while reflecting on its contributions to WTO law.
This book is a tribute to the life and work of Professor Robert Hudec, who has been a leading light and educator on the history of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the dispute settlement system, in particular. We all owe a tremendous debt to Professor Hudec for his meticulous, comprehensive, and prolific research on the GATT/WTO dispute settlement system, as well as for his brilliant and inspiring ideas on GATT/WTO law and policy. A few important messages from Bob's writings on GATT dispute settlement, in particular, stick out in my mind. First, Bob has always maintained that an incrementalist, evolutionary approach to the development of the dispute settlement system in the GATT, and now in the WTO, is preferable to a negotiated approach.