Professor Rachel Brewster on the Remedy Gap

In the third installment of the Faculty Workshop Series, sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Professor Rachel Brewster, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Law School, came to speak on September 27 about her new article, The Remedy Gap: Institutional Design, Retaliation, and Trade Law Enforcement.

The article outlines the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution policies for international trade violations and how they can be manipulated to impair justice. Under the WTO, a complaining state is only entitled to prospective damages after all legal proceedings are complete, which can take up to seven years. Additionally, if the violating state becomes compliant, any right to sanctions disappear. Thus, a state can drag the proceeding out only to comply with the law at the very end and the complaining state is entitled to nothing.

Professor Brewster argues that this disparity leads to less motivation for settlement between the states and a potential for more powerful states abandoning the WTO mechanism all together and imposing their own unilateral sanctions on states they feel are violating their rights.

Prof. Brewster’s talk spurred intense discussion from attending faculty.

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