WTO adjudication faces a crisis of social legitimacy. I diagnose that crisis in terms of competing theories of interpretation, and thick and thin political moralities. WTO law’s dominant self-image is as voluntarist-positivist treaty law, reflecting an implicit thin international political morality. Interpretation is exclusively a matter of textual analysis complemented by originalist intent. Yet text is indeterminate and intent obscure, requiring a supplementary judicial gap-filling role. But that role is expressly excluded by the WTO DSU. The legitimacy problem is thus a function of the thin political morality. If instead we assume a thicker political morality, with economic duties to insiders and outsiders, the voluntarist-positivist image loses appeal, licensing an anti-positivist moral reading that can legitimise interpretation in hard cases without judicial legislation.
Our 2020 Annual Conference was scheduled to be held at the University of Wrocław in Poland on July 9-11, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICON·S Executive Committee has decided to postpone our 2020 Conference to 2021. Our next Annual Conference will take place from July 8-10, 2021, in Wrocław, Poland.
Procedural details regarding the organization of the 2021 Conference will follow in the months ahead.Join ICON•S