Amicus Curiae Briefs in the WTO DSM: Good or Bad News for Non-State Actor Involvement?
Article by postdoctoral fellow Theresa Squatrito in the World Trade Review. Since 1998, non-state actors have had access to submit an ‘amicus curiae’ brief to the dispute settlement mechanism (DSM) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).What has come of these briefs once they are submitted and what explains how amicus are treated by the DSM?
This article empirically maps amici in all disputes from 1998 (after amicus access was first recognized) through 2014, arguing that amicus access is conditioned by a combination of political and legal constraints faced by the WTO panels and Appelate Body.
In particular, whether the content of an amicus is considered hinges on it having the endorsement of a disputing party and whether its consideration interferes with the WTO DSM's reputation for coherence.
In all, these findings have implications for the debate over whether amicus curiae access is good or bad news for the WTO and non-state actor involvement.