The DSU Interim Review--Need for its Elimination or Extension to the Appellate Body Stage?
One innovation submitted for the review of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) has been to extend the interim review to the appeal procedure before the Appellate Body. The proposal seeks to enhance Members control over the outcome of the dispute settlement proceeding. In contrast, numerous commentators have argued for the elimination of the interim review from the DSU by questioning its utility and giving preference to time savings for the proceedings. The merits of both proposals, elimination or extension, should be evaluated on the basis of the interim review's contribution to the effective resolution of disputes between parties. Based on past experience, this article evaluates the interim review's role to reach a mutually agreed solution (MAS) and to provide parties the opportunity to introduce new evidence, raise new legal arguments or request clarifications and corrections. To that effect, it examines the scope of the interim review as interpreted by the adjudicative bodies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and identifies the limitations on the scope of Member's control during the interim review. The article concludes that an extension to the appeal stage would be of limited utility and potentially even incompatible with essential prerequisites of a legalistic procedure. As regards the panel stage, parties' rights would not be prejudiced by the removal of the interim review from the proceedings. Oxford University Press 2009, all rights reserved, Oxford University Press.
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