Sample WTO Panel and Appellate Body Dispute Settlement Commentary Dispute Settlement Commentary (DSC) - Samples

Dispute Name

Dispute Settlement Commentary (DSC)

DS Number

Adoption Date

Agreements Covered 
Mexico - Taxes on Soft Drinks Mexico - Taxes on Soft Drinks (Panel)
Mexico - Taxes on Soft Drinks (AB)
DS308 March 24, 2006 DSU, GATT
EC - Asbestos

EC - Asbestos (Panel)

EC - Asbestos (AB)

DS135 May 16, 2001 DSU, GATT, TBT
Canada - Pharmaceuticals Canada - Pharmaceuticals (Panel) DS114 April 7, 2000 TRIPS
Korea - Dairy Safeguards

Korea - Dairy Safeguards (Panel)

Korea - Dairy Safeguards (AB)

DS98 January 12, 2000 DSU, GATT, Safeguards
  • Documents are all PDF files. To view them, you will need the free Adobe Reader.

A brief explanation as to what you will find in our sample Dispute Settlement Commentaries (DSC)

The first page of each DSC provides some basic information about the dispute.  The page begins with the title of the dispute, and the official WTO document reference number of the report (e.g., WT/DS114/R).  This reference number is underlined and blue, indicating that it is a hyperlink.  If you click on the link, you will be taken to the actual panel/AB report.  (Please note that for panel reports, the link takes you to an abbreviated version of the report, with the parties' arguments, as well as any annexes, deleted.  To view the full panel report for each case, see our WTO panel reports page here.)

Following the title is a range of information about the case: parties, important dates, judicial decision-makers, etc. (note that the category "third parties" in a DSC for a panel report refers to Members that have reserved third party rights, including those who did not make a third party submission).  Some of this information is underlined and blue, indicating a hyperlink.  For the judicial decision-makers, the link is to a page we have created that lists all of the completed cases worked on by that person (this page is only accessible to subscribers).  For the documents listed in the time-line, the link is to the document itself.  For example, the "Panel Request" link is to the panel request, and the "Panel Establishment" link is to the minutes of the DSB meeting at which the panel was established.  Note that for some of the events in the time-line, such as the "Interim Report," no document is available, so there is no link.  Also, with some recent cases, the "Adoption" entry will not be a link because the DSB minutes for the meeting at which adoption took place have not yet been made public.

Next, there is a table of contents, which sets out the issues arising in the case.  Each of the items in the table of contents is set up as a link (even though they are not blue and underlined), so to quickly go to one of the listed items, just click on it.  (You can also jump to other parts of the document by clicking on the "Bookmarks" tab on the left side of the Adobe Reader window.)

After the table of contents, the key findings in the report are described.  For panel reports, if a key finding was appealed, we also note, in bold, the Appellate Body's decision on the issue.  Note that if there is no indication as to the Appellate Body's treatment of the issue, it means that the issue was not appealed.

As you read through each DSC, you will notice that when other GATT/WTO reports are cited, they are underlined and blue, indicating that these are links as well.  To go directly to these reports, just click on the link.  Note that links to WTO panel reports are to an abbreviated version of the report, with the parties' arguments and any annexes deleted.

The DSC then provides a description of the Background of the case, including the basic facts regarding the measure at issue, the claims made by the complaining party, as well as any other relevant information.

Next, we summarize each of the findings made by the panel or the Appellate Body.  For each issue, we provide references to the paragraph numbers in the underlying report from which the summary was drawn. The findings are divided into two sections:  "Procedural and Systemic Issues" and "Substantive Issues."  Generally, the ultimate finding or conclusion for each issue is set out in bold.  For panel findings, when an issue was appealed, we provide, in a parenthetical, a brief explanation of how the Appellate Body treated the Panel's finding.  In addition, after each appealed issue, there is a link to the Dispute Settlement Commentary for the Appellate Body report in that case.  For example, in the Korea - Dairy Safeguards case, the link would be: See DSC for Korea - Dairy Safeguards (AB).

The last section is called "Commentary."  In this section, we provide additional explanation and discussion of certain issues in the case. In addition, where applicable there are links to the Dispute Settlement Commentaries for other cases that have dealt with these or related issues (these links are only accessible by subscribers). Finally, at the beginning of this section, where journal articles have been written about the case, we provide citations to these articles; similarly, within specific issues in this section, we note additional relevant journal articles.

If you have any questions about these samples, please contact us.