• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Imogen Saunders
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the law of the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) and to the context of economics and politics within which the law operates. 

It provides both a stand-alone introduction to WTO law and a solid basis for further study (eg, LAWS8073 Trade Remedies Law: WTO & Domestic Implementation).

The course considers the functions of the WTO through the consideration of some basic economics or trade, or public choice and game theory. It reviews the history of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) regulating trade in goods, and the creation of the Agreement Establishing the WTO ending with a review of the institutions of the WTO and of the framework of rules applying under the GATT. 

It also includes a detailed study of the WTO dispute settlement system under the WTO Understanding on Dispute Settlement, its concepts, procedures and enforcement. 

The course will examine the framework of rules under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the relationship between regulation of trade in goods and regulation of trade in services; and the rules of the Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), emphasizing patents, copyright and trademarks.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate a reasonable level of proficiency in researching WTO law;
  2. Demonstrate a solid knowledge of the Agreement Establishing the WTO, and the 3 main treaties binding WTO Members: the General agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS);
  3. Demonstrate an ability to advise as a legal practitioner on how certain parts of WTO law, including the fundamental rules of the GATT, GATS and TRIPS, apply to fact situations;
  4. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the nature of the WTO system for negotiations, of the WTO legal system and of the WTO dispute settlement system, its concepts, procedures and enforcement mechanisms;
  5. Critically appreciate how the law operates in a context of economics, politics and history including a capacity to apply established theories to the analysis of the law; and
  6. Demonstrate a level of knowledge and understanding of the WTO system sufficient to undertake more advanced or more specialized study independently in areas of trade law not specifically covered in the course.

Other Information

This is an intensive course with a compulsory on campus component (see LLM timetable for dates).

Approximately 6 weeks from the completion of the on campus component your final assessment will be due. Contact with fellow students and the convenor, both prior to the intensive and after, is conducted via the Wattle course site.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Legal Analysis based on in-class activity (2400 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Research Essay (3600 words) (60) [LO 1,2,5,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
  • Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program course list

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a; Master of Laws (MLLM) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8182 Principles of International Law; or Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8182 Principles of International Law; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS2250 /LAWS6250 International Law ; or Master of Financial Management and Law (MFIML) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4226 International Trade Law. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission code.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.

Preliminary Reading

All recommended reading will be available on the course WATTLE site, either in PDF form or as a link to an online resource (case, journal article, position paper etc). An ANU login may be required to access some of the reading from journal databases.

The following texts are useful reference resources:

•      S Lester and B Mercurio, World Trade Law: Text, Materials and Commentary (2nd ed, 2012)

•      M Matsushita, T J Schoenbaum and P C Mavroidis, The World Trade Organization: Law Practice and Policy (2016: Electronic resource, available through the library at http://library.anu.edu.au/record=b3806347)

•      D Rothwell et al, International Law: Cases and Materials with Australian Perspectives (3rd ed, 2018) Chapter 11 - International Trade Law

The following websites are useful sources of information on trade issues:

·        WTO home page: http://www.wto.org/ (news and developments, WTO Secretariat publications, downloadable versions of WTO texts, latest WTO Panel and Appellate Body reports).

·        OECD home page: http://www.oecd.org/ (OECD news and developments, including full text of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment) 


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4860
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4124 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 Online View

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