Is There a Case – Legally and Politically – For Direct Effect of WTO Obligations?

WTO law does not require its direct effect in domestic legal orders. Whilst the stances taken in these are diverse, showing that direct effect is not denied on the whole to WTO law, all the major trading members of the WTO deny it. The fact that, in a case where a WTO member does not comply and is targeted by trade sanctions, the economic actors who in practice bear the burden of these sanctions are deprived of any recourse can be considered as unfair enough to question again the denial of direct effect. The analysis focuses notably on the EU where the debate has expanded more than anywhere else and concludes that direct effect should even in the name of fairness or justice be handled with caution.