Developing and using new reference tools to search the jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization

Sandford, Iain; Cooper, Steve; Ramos, Fernando Prieto
October 2005
Indexer;Oct2005, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p218
Academic Journal
Ascertaining the current state of the law is a basic challenge for any lawyer. This -- of course -- is well appreciated by legal indexers, whose work provides key tools allowing researchers to move efficiently through the material relevant to an issue. In developed and well settled areas of the law, legal research tasks may be completed with relative ease. Greater challenges arise, however, where an area of law or jurisprudence is new and developing rapidly, and where the available reference tools have yet to catch up with developments. The law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been one such area. A new annual publication, the WTO Appellate Body Repertory of Decisions and Awards (the Repertory), aims to facilitate access to the developing jurisprudence in this important area of international law. This article comments on the utility of the various reference tools now included in this quick-reference guide. After reviewing some background to the publication of the Repertory, the article reviews how the various indexes and reference tables now included in the Repertory came to be developed, and comments on the uses and functionality of such resources, including in the context of creating the online version of the Repertory. The piece also comments on some of the difficulties associated with this publication project, particularly with respect to the challenge of converting the value added to the English edition by the various indexes into the French and Spanish versions.


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