Legal issues arising in WTO dispute settlement proceedings

Click the + to open an item.

10.1 Standing

show help page

There is no DSU requirement for a complainant to have a “legal interest” as a prerequisite for requesting the establishment of a panel in a dispute.1 Indeed, complainants have already been allowed to bring complaints against violations of the WTO Agreement, even though such violations were to the detriment of other Members.2 However, the issue of standing (the right to bring a complaint) was not specifically raised in those disputes. In the one case where the respondent specifically challenged the complainant’s standing to bring a violation claim under GATT 1994, the Appellate Body was satisfied with the fact that the complainant was a producer and potential exporter of the product in question. Moreover, the claims in that case were interwoven with claims under other covered agreements, for which the complainant’s standing had not been challenged. The Appellate Body also relied on a Member’s interest in enforcing WTO rules due to the possible direct or indirect economic effects of a WTO violation.3



1. Appellate Body Report, EC — Bananas III, para. 132.  back to text

2. Appellate Body Report, US — Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act, paras. 275-281, 309; Appellate Body Report, US — Line Pipe, paras. 120-122, 130-133.  back to text

3. Appellate Body Report, EC — Bananas III, paras. 136-138.  back to text



show previous page show next page

This interactive training module is based on the “Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System” published in 2004. The second edition of this handbook published in 2017 can be found at here.

Chapters done:

show previous page show next page