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World trade law


The syllabus focuses on the law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which forms the core of international economic law. The World Trade Organisation has more than 160 members and is a relatively young international organisation, beginning its operation in 1995. The course covers the history of the WTO, its objectives and how it operates, as well as examining the regulations and principles of trade in goods and overall will provide students with a firm understanding of this important organisation.

Module A: World Trade Organization institutions and dispute settlement


  • From GATT 1947 to the World Trade Organization (WTO). History, objectives and framework
  • Institutional aspects of the WTO
  • Dispute settlement: basic principles and panel proceedings
  • Dispute settlement: appellate review and implementation

Module B: Basic principles of trade in goods


  • Introduction to GATT 1994. Tariffs and quantitative restrictions
  • The most favoured nation and national treatment principles
  • Safeguards
  • Exceptions to GATT obligations (with special focus on environmental protection)

Module C: Specific regulations of trade in goods


  • The Antidumping Agreement
  • The Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Duties
  • The TBT Agreement
  • The SPS Agreement

Module D: Special World Trade Organization regulations


  • Trade in services (GATS)
  • Intellectual property (TRIPS)
  • Regional trade arrangements
  • Investment and competition policy


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt Module A first, followed by module B.

How to apply

You can either apply for these modules individually or as part of the Postgraduate Laws programme. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Law and Development
  • Public International Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Dr Joanna Gomula

Dr Joanna Gomula

Dr Joanna Gomula, LLM (University of Warsaw), LLM (University of Michigan), PhD (Polish Academy of Sciences) works primarily in the field of WTO law at the University of Cambridge. She practiced for several years at White & Case and is a member of the New York Bar. Joanna is a Visiting Reader at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary College, University of London, where she has lectured WTO dispute settlement and international economic law. Since 2005 Joanna has been a visiting lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna where she teaches international economic law. She has taught at the University of Nanterre in Paris, University of Cardinal Wyszynski in Warsaw, University of Hong Kong and the Academy of Economics in Katowice.

Since 2011 Joanna edits ICSID Reports. She is also on the Board of Editors of the Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence (ed. Guiliana Ziccardi Capaldo) and the Collana di Diritto Internazionale e Diritto interno internazionale- Series on International Law and Domestic Law in International Matters, as well as on the Academic Review Board of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law.