The World Trade Organization (“WTO”) encourages its members to fully exhaust negotiations and consultations before bringing a case before its Dispute Settlement Body. Indeed, a majority of all WTO disputes are resolved in consultations, allowing its members to gain accountability, “save face,” and preserve sovereignty. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”), an international environmental dispute resolution body, should follow the lead of the WTO in requiring a pre-dispute consultation period and encouraging its members to resolve differences outside of the Tribunal’s dispute settlement process. Although the WTO sets a fine example in the area of consultations and dispute settlement, it sets a less impressive and less relevant standard on the precautionary principle. In contrast to the WTO, the ITLOS should continue to deftly define and employ the precautionary principle to increase its authority and protect ocean resources.
Cho, Yoona. “Precautionary Principle in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.” Sustainable Development Law & Policy, Fall 2009, 64, 90.