This comment will initially identify what is generally agreed upon as the goal of dispute resolution within the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime. Secondly, the two approaches historically associated with the debate as to how the objectives of dispute resolution within the GATT/WTO are best achieved, that of the legalist and that of the pragmatic or diplomatic approach, will be examined. Thirdly, it will be established that these two positions can be reconciled under a single model which employs adjudication as the ultimate arbiter of disputes, examining the civil justice system and its operation within the United States as an embodiment of the adjudicative model. Finally, it will be established that the Understanding on the Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes reflects many qualities of the American approach to the resolution of domestic disputes. The movement in the Understanding toward the establishment of a system of dispute resolution in which the legalist and diplomatic approaches may be reconciled within an adjudicative model, for example, is very similar to the American approach. This movement, when properly understood, is not a victory of legalists over diplomats, but marks the creation of a more efficient and fair system better able to fulfill the long-standing objective of GATT/WTO dispute resolution procedures.
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Trevor Lawson, "WTO Dispute Resolution: The Promotion of Diplomacy Within an Adjudicative Model" (1997) 6 Dal J Leg Stud 321.