Law School Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code LLAW106
Coordinator Professor A Arora
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 7 FHEQ Whole Session 15


This module introduces students to the World Trade Organisation and the WTO rules applicable to international trade. Students will be introduced to the formation and structure of the WTO, the principal agreements governing trade and the law and practice of the WTO in key areas. Students will also gain an understanding of the dispute settlement processes of the WTO.

The module consists of a structured series of exercises designed to develop a range of appropriate skills and to introduce intellectual perspectives and ideas over a range of areas of WTO law and practice.  Students will work individually and in on-line discussion on a range of primary and secondary materials including the WTO Agreements, the Panel and Appellate Body reports through which they have been interpreted and applied in disputes, policy documents and secondary literature in which appraisals, critical perspectives and proposals for reform are advanced.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of this module the student will be able to:

(LO2) Demonstrate their ability to handle the primary legal materials (the WTO Agreements and the decisions of the WTO DSB) in this field;

(LO3) Demonstrate familiarity with the WTO, its history, structure, principal Agreements and functions;

(LO4) Understand the key legal concepts which underpin the WTO Agreements, as interpreted and applied by the DSB;

(LO5) Understand the role and approach of the DSB, the techniques and style of judicial reasoning it adopts, and the principal issues raised in the literature about the DSB;

(LO6) Demonstrate an understanding of the key legal principles in specific Agreements including the GATT, the agreements on dumping and on subsidies and the GATS;

(LO7) Appreciate the issues of concern facing developing countries in particular and the particular measures contained in WTO Agreements applicable to developing countries, including an understanding of how these measures have evolved over time (under GATT and post-1995) and of current debates and issues;

(LO8) Conduct effective research on WTO law and practice, including the use of legal information retrieval systems, and collate the information effectively;

(LO9) Develop a critical commentary on the material located and present it to a high standard, adopting appropriate disciplinary conventions.




Week One: Introducing the WTO
Textbook Chapter,
Expected Responses: DQI + 3-5 DQF
Study packs to include introductory materials from WTO website (Trading into the Future), orientation exercise to identify Agreements, DSB reports, other official documents, current negotiations, secondary literature.
Assignment: HA – short report on the key achievements of the Uruguay Round

Week Two: The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
Primary material: key GATT Articles, plus textbook chapter
Expected Responses: DQI + 3-5 DQF
Study packs to include short lecture on key legal principles, introduction to the commentary on WTO Agreements (here the key Articles above) in the On-line Analytical Guide (WTO website), short lecture on the negotiation aspect of GATT and overview of outcomes of successive rounds to date.
Assignment: HA – short report on the key concepts underpinning the GATT

Week Three: GATT Artic le XX
Primary material: Textbook Chapter, GATT Art. XX, a selection of key Art. XX cases (environment) and identified items of critical writing on the Art. XX cases
Expected Responses: DQI and 3-5 DQF Students will be asked to move chronologically through the cases, considering the development of the Art. XX jurisprudence.
Assignment: HA. Should Art. XX be revised to accommodate concerns about the impact of trade on the environment?

Week Four: Dumping
Primary material: Agreement on Dumping, Textbook Chapter, some relevant DSB decisions
Expected Responses: DQI plus 3-5 DQF. After establishing an understanding of what ‘dumping’ is, students will be asked to explain and discuss key Articles of the Agreement to develop an understanding of how this Agreement operates to restrain unilateral responses by states to dumping. 
Assignment: HA. To write a case-note of a recent Anti-Dumping decision of the DSB

Week Five: Settlement of Dis putes  
Primary Material: Understanding on the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), Textbook Chapter, a key case exemplifying the legal style of the Appellate Body.  
Expected Responses: DQI plus 3-5 DQF. Students will be asked to identify the major changes to the dispute settlement processes introduced by the DSU and locate these in the Articles of the DSU, and to discuss the potential contribution of the DSB to the goals of the WTO, with reference to a decided case or cases. Consider problems with the operation of the DSU and proposals for reform.
Assignment: HA. Outline the main stages of the dispute settlement process and the possible remedies.

Week Six: GATS
Primary material: General Agreement on Trade in Services, Textbook Chapter, a sample Schedule of Commitments
Expected Responses: DQI plus 3-5 DQF. After establishing an understanding of what the modes of service provision are, students will be asked to explain and discuss key Articles of the Agr eement, identifying both general and specific provisions and demonstrating an understanding of the significance of this distinction, and of the role of Schedules of Commitments.
Assignment: HA. To write a critique of the WTO rules on subsidies and how they contribute to the goals of the WTO

Week Seven: Developing countries in the WTO Primary material: as before, but tracing special provisions for developing countries through all the agreements
Expected Responses: DQI + 3-5 DQR. Students will be asked to consider why there are special provisions for developing countries, different perspectives on the role of the WTO vis-a-vis development, and to develop an understanding of the different techniques and tools used in the agreements to differentiate the obligations of or towards developing countries
Assignment: IP. Interim Report – an initial attempt to identify the legal issues in a given problem scenario outlining a potential trade dispute between a devel oped and a developing state which raises a GATT Art. XX issue and an (unlawful) unilateral retaliatory action.

Week Eight: Final Assignment  
Primary material: Guide to Good Legal Writing and Checklist
Expected Responses: DQI + 3-5 DQR  
Assignment: IP. Final Report – A Legal Briefing to one of the parties in the

Further guidance and reading
Alongside the exercises involving legal materials, students will be able to download materials and lectures offering further guidance on the topics covered and the skills being developed. Further reading is indicated where appropriate.

Assessment Methods
Contribution to virtual classroom discussion; written assignments; individual project – interim report and final project.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Attendance Recorded: Not yet decided

Teaching Method 2 - Seminar
Attendance Recorded: Not yet decided

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 8


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 126


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 1 Assessment Schedule (When) :Whole Session  5-7 weeks         
Assessment 2 Assessment Schedule (When) :Whole Session  Week 8    30       
Assessment 3 Assessment Schedule (When) :Whole Session  1-8 weeks    30       
Assessment 4 Assessment Schedule (When) :Whole Session  1-4 weeks    35       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

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