In this paper, interpretation and application dispute settlement provisions of European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed between 1963 and 2006 are analysed. This will be through the two models of Dispute Settlement in International Law: the political and adjudicative. Political elements of dispute settlement mechanisms in Public International Law and General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) served to establish those of the EU FTAs. Adjudicative and quasi-adjudicative elements of dispute settlement mechanisms of Public International Law and World Trade Organization (WTO) Law were used as parameters to set up those of the EU FTAs. These parameters also helped to define a new and unique hybrid model. The features of this model were found in Agreements with trade issues other than FTAs. It is possible, however, for future FTAs to incorporate them. The hybrid model is based on an adjudicative framework and includes both political and adjudicative elements. In conclusion, it was found that even though WTO Members incorporated adjudicative elements in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the EU did not incorporate them bilaterally for a further five years. Furthermore, since the creation of the DSU in 1995, the EU has established more FTAs based on a political model than on a quasi-adjudicative. Consequently, the quasi-adjudicative dispute settlement model has not represented a clear trend in EU FTAs.
Dispute Settlement Adjudication European Union Free Trade Agreements GATT WTO