Twenty randomly chosen submissions, including submissions prepared by the ACWL, cite a median of seventeen and one-half and an average of twenty-one separate panel and AB decisions.
For example, the ACWL was created to assist developing countries in WTO disputes, and it has issued over 1,800 legal opinions on WTO law to developing countries since 2001; around 71% of these opinions were issued to its lower income (Category C) Members.
(143) The WTO also offers internships in Geneva, online courses and occasional seminars, as does the ACWL. Thousands of people from around the world have participated in them.
(133.) Gregory Shaffer, Assessing the ACWL from a Broader Governance Perspective 3 (Minn.
For the programs provided by the ACWL, see Annual Training Course, Advisory Center on WTO Law, http://www.acwl.ch/e/training/annual_training_course.html.
The ACWL has the potential to benefit every nation that participates in the WTO, not just developing nations.
(1) This organization, the Advisory Centre for World Trade Law (ACWL), was first conceived by a trade delegate from Colombia.
(8) By ensuring that developing countries are on equal footing with developed nations in the dispute settlement process, the ACWL has helped stem this criticism and given developing countries hope for their future in the WTO.
The object of the Centre is to provide developing countries "with the capacity in their own administrations, through training programs, and to give at affordable costs legal assistance to pursue and defend their rights in the dispute settlement process." (124) The ACWL sponsors said that the center would take up all defensive panel cases (where the developing countries are defending themselves against complaints), but would pursue complaints made by developing countries only on merit, paying particular attention to Article 3 of the DSU, which prefers that mutually agreed solutions be reached.
The creation of the ACWL marks the establishment of the "first true center for legal aid within the international system," (130) Domestic legal clinics, however, have been in existence for decades in recognition of an unbalanced system that fails to allow the economically disadvantaged equal access to justice.
(139) Although the ACWL is described as part of the dispute settlement system of the WTO, "it must also remain independent of the WTO and its Members ff it is to fulfill its role effectively." (140) Frieder Roessler, the Executive Director of the ACWL, describes the Centre as, "a masterpiece of checks and balances," while the ACWL retains financial independence through its large endowment fund of nearly twenty million Swiss francs, it is also subject "to close budgetary scrutiny by its Members." (141)