Cross-Examining Expertise in the WTO Dispute Settlement Process

Part I of this Note surveys some of the recent contributions that social theorists and social scientists have made to our understanding of the role of experts in society, and also the structure of expert communities. Experts are everywhere in modern life, and individuals are with increasing frequency asked to extend their trust to experts and bodies of knowledge that they have little or no opportunity to question. Part II highlights how the WTO Agreement deals with experts, using recent WTO panel reports to illustrate the ways in which the DSB has operationalized its various provisions. Part III suggests two changes in these DSU provisions that better reflect current knowledge of expertise as well as the interests of Members in the dispute settlement process. The Note concludes by revisiting the idea of expertise in international economic law in a slightly different guise in Part IV, this time stressing the importance of asking the right questions.