The aim of this module is to offer students a thorough understanding of the law of the World Trade  Organization (WTO), focusing on the application of customary rules of treaty interpretation by  WTO  panels  and  the  Appellate  Body.


Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to

  • understand the historical background and the theoretical foundations of the multilateral trading system, including the theory of comparative advantage and the economic case for open trade
  • grasp the institutional structure of the WTO and its dispute settlement system
  • critically discuss all the key issues and the latest developments regarding multilateral trade in goods, services and intellectual property rights
  • identify and appreciate the more subtle analytical and methodological issues pertaining to WTO dispute settlement
  •  ascertain the key role of treaty interpretation by WTO adjudicators.



Analysis of core issues regarding international trade in goods, services and intellectual property rights, such as subsidies, anti-dumping measures,  special and differential treatment, market access, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, exceptions for non-trade policy objectives etc, will take place through the lens of Articles 31-33 of the 1969 Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, demonstrating how and why treaty interpretation is crucial for understanding the present and future of the multilateral trading system.

Academic Requirements

Participants should have at least some basic previous knowledge of Public International Law.

Teaching method

Teaching will be conducted through interactive, discussion-based, seminars and student participation in the lectures will be required. Basic and further reading lists will be circulated prior to the classes.


The course is taught by Lecturer Anastasios Gourgourinis.

Assessment and testing

  • Final written exam, open book, essay questions - 2 hours (60%)
  • Mid-term written exam, open book, essay questions - 2 hours (30%)
  • Class participation (10 %)

Each participating student may submit one optional practice essay for feedback during the semester.