Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Mr Matthew Windsor

Email: m.r.windsor@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module examines the structure, procedure and role played by the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. It will review the evolution of this mechanism, and its overall intellectual and theoretical bases. The module will also review the main topics subject to dispute between member states, specific examples of dispute settlement practice, how dispute resolution decisions by panels and the Appellate Body are implemented, and how effective they are in practice.


The module is designed:

  • To promote an awareness of the operation of international economic law, and the World Trade Organisation in particular.  

  • To promote an awareness of the dispute resolution mechanisms of the WTO, and of the main legal and policy issues addressed by these mechanisms.

  • To offer an understanding of the relevance of dispute settlement for determining policy by key international and domestic institutions.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the operation of WTO dispute settlement.

  • Analyse contemporary issues in international trade law by using knowledge and research skills developed in preparation for seminars, class discussion and the written assignment.

Additional outcomes:

In addition to those listed in the School’s ‘core skills statement’, the module encourages the development of:

  • Advanced research and writing skills through close analysis of primary and secondary materials on international trade law.

  • High-level oral communication skills through reflective class discussion.

  • Ability to construct an effective argument based on analytical thinking.

Outline content:

The module will cover topics such as:

  • Key Rules and Principles of International Trade Law.

  • International Dispute Settlement – From GATT to WTO.

  • Anatomy of a WTO Dispute.

  • Actors, Jurisdiction and Applicable Law.

  • General and Security Exceptions.

  • Implementation and Remedies.

  • Globalism versus Regionalism.

  • Developing Countries and Distributive Justice.

  • The Appellate Body and Global Governance.

  • A Regime in Crisis? Trade Wars and WTO Reform.   

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching will consist of 10 two-hour seminars. A handout will be provided for each seminar with a list of required and recommended readings.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study: 180
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

An assessed essay of 15 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules).

Formative assessment methods:

A formative assessment, which will be marked and returned with feedback.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the standard University policy.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
See School of Law PGT Programme Handbook

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 18 September 2019


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