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31 July 2006

WTO appoints new Appellate Body Member

The WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) appointed today (31 July) Mr David Unterhalter, aged 47, of South Africa to the seven-member Appellate Body to replace the late Mr John Lockhart who passed away in January. Mr Unterhalter will serve for the remainder of the term of office of Mr Lockhart up to 11 December 2009.

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The appointment was made according to the Dispute Settlement Understanding which stipulates that the Appellate Body shall “comprise persons of recognized authority, with demonstrated expertise in law, international trade and the subject matter of the WTO agreements generally.” The DSU also requires that the Appellate Body membership be broadly representative of WTO Membership. The appointment was made following consultations with WTO Members and on the basis of a proposal by a Selection Committee comprising the Director-General, and the Chairpersons of the General Council, the DSB, the Council for Trade in Goods, the Council for Trade in Services and the TRIPS Council. The Selection Committee interviewed eight candidates who had been nominated by their respective governments.


Notes to editors

1. Born in South Africa on 18 November 1958, David Unterhalter has been Professor of Law at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa since 1998. His areas of research and teaching include international trade, competition law, and constitutional law. From 2000 to 2006, he was a Director of the Mandela Institute, University of Witwatersrand, which is an institute focusing on competition law, international trade, environmental law, telecommunication, international tax law, humanitarian law and human rights law. Mr Unterhalter holds law degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and University College, Oxford.

As a practicing advocate, Mr Unterhalter has advised and acted on behalf of clients in a large number of cases in the fields of trade law, competition law, constitutional law, and commercial law. His experience includes representing different parties in anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases. He has also acted as an advisor to the South African Department of Trade and Industry. In addition, he has served on a number of WTO dispute settlement panels.

Mr. Unterhalter has published numerous articles in the fields of constitutional law and competition law.

2. The Appellate Body hears appeals from dispute settlement panel reports on issues of law covered in the panel report and legal interpretations developed by the panel. Three members from the seven-member Appellate Body hear and determine any one appeal. The Appellate Body can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings and conclusions of a panel. Appellate Body reports are adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body, and unconditionally accepted by the parties to the dispute, unless there is a consensus against adoption. Since its establishment in November 1995 up to the end of 2005, the Appellate Body circulated 73 reports, all of which were adopted.

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