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Emile Noël Fellow
Academic Year 2010-2011
Jan-Peter Hix is a legal adviser in the Legal Service of the Council of the EU. As a member of the external relations team he advises, in particular, the Trade Policy Committee and the Trade Questions Working Party of the Council. He has represented the Council in a considerable number of cases before the Court of Justice and the General Court of the EU.
Before joining the Council Legal Service Jan-Peter worked as a lawyer with the law firm Bruckhaus Westrick Stegemann and, previously, as an assistant at the Department for European law of the University of Hamburg.
He obtained a Dr. iuris from the University of Hamburg and a LL.M. from NYU School of Law. He has published a book and some articles on EU law.
Agreement-consistent interpretation and other forms of judicial accomodation of WTO law by the courts in European Union and the U.S.A.
With the proliferation of multilateral international treaties, the issue of the effects of international law obligations in domestic legal orders becomes increasingly pertinent. Jan-Peter's research would explore one particular aspect of this issue: the indirect effect of WTO law in litigation before the US and EU courts.
The principle according to which the rules of the WTO Agreements and the WTO dispute settlement reports have no direct effect and can in principle not be invoked before the courts in order to invalidate domestic measures is established both in the US and the EU legal systems.
By contrast, the question of the possible indirect effect of WTO law before US and EU courts has not yet found a definitive answer. Before US courts, the answer depends notably on the relationship between two potentially conflicting doctrines: according to the Charming Betsy canon of interpretation, statutes are construed, so far as reasonably possible, in such a way that they do not violate international law; whereas the Chevron defense grants deference to administrative agencies' reasonable interpretation of statutes. In the EU, the Court of Justice recognizes the principle that EU legislation must, so far as possible, be interpreted in a manner that is consistent with international law. At the same time, the Court recognizes that the EU institutions have a considerable margin of appreciation, in particular when complex economic issues are at stake.
The research would, first, analyze the respective constitutional and statutory frameworks within which US and EU courts act in such cases. The study would then attempt to categorize the issues, on the basis of the concrete circumstances of specific cases. These circumstances include, inter alia, the nature of the specific WTO law obligations invoked, the nature of the contested domestic measures, and the degree of authority, if any, attributed by the courts to the relevant WTO law. Finally, the study would evaluate the similarities and differences in the approaches adopted respectively by the US and the EU courts in this respect, and attempt to elucidate the reasons for these similarities and differences, as well as the consequences.