Two thirds of the developing countries that have participated in WTO dispute settlement proceedings – 39 in total – have become Members of the ACWL.
The 43 LDCs that are Members of the WTO or in the process of acceding to the WTO are entitled to the services of the ACWL without having to become ACWL Members.
Developed countries may become Members of the ACWL but are not entitled to its services.
The current Members of the ACWL are listed below.
Each developing country ACWL Member is entitled to the services of the ACWL in accordance with the regulations adopted by the General Assembly and the schedule of fees as set out in Annex IV (pdf) of the Agreement Establishing the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (pdf).
Developing countries are classified into three categories (A, B and C) based on their share of world trade with an upward correction reflecting their per capita income. This classification determines their contribution to the Endowment Fund and the rate of fees payable for services rendered by the ACWL.
Twenty-one developing countries originally accepted the Agreement Establishing the ACWL. Latvia withdrew from the ACWL in May 2004 upon its accession to the European Union. In addition, 19 developing countries have acceded to the ACWL, bringing the total number of developing country Members to 39.
Georgia initiated the accession process in October 2006 but has yet to take further steps to pursue the process.
- Hong Kong, China
- The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (13 May 2004)
- United Arab Emirates (29 April 2016)
- Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
- Oman (25 April 2003)
- Mauritius (11 June 2003)
- Türkiye (17 August 2003)
- Indonesia (28 April 2004)
- Viet Nam (25 September 2009)
- Seychelles (27 March 2014)
- South Africa (28 April 2017)
- Morocco (13 June 2019)
- Kazakhstan (28 June 2020)
- Ukraine (28 August 2021)
- Dominican Republic
- Jordan (20 January 2002)
- El Salvador (3 September 2004)
- Sri Lanka (21 November 2008)
- Costa Rica (30 April 2009)
- Cuba (3 November 2013)
- Côte d’Ivoire (12 January 2017)
- Mongolia (19 November 2020)
LDCs are entitled to the services of the ACWL without becoming ACWL Members.
Any country designated by the United Nations as an LDC is entitled to the services of the ACWL, provided that it is a Member of the WTO or in the process of acceding to the WTO.
Unlike developing countries, LDCs need not join the ACWL and contribute to the ACWL’s Endowment Fund to acquire the right to use the ACWL’s services.
There are 43 LDCs currently entitled to the services of the ACWL.
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- The Gambia
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Sao Tomé and Principe
- South Sudan
Free legal advice for LDCs
The ACWL’s legal advice and training are provided free of charge to LDCs.
The ACWL charges modest fees for support in dispute settlement proceedings. An LDC can expect to pay no more than CHF5’880 for participation in consultations, CHF17’760 for participation in panel proceedings and CHF10’520 for participation in appellate review proceedings.
These and other fees are set out in greater detail in the ACWL’s time budget (pdf).
The ACWL may provide free support to LDCs engaged as third parties in dispute settlement proceedings
Additionally, support for LDCs that participate in WTO dispute settlement proceedings as third parties may be provided free of charge.
An increasing number of WTO Members participate in WTO dispute settlement proceedings as third parties to familiarise themselves with the WTO’s dispute settlement practice and jurisprudence. Thus far, however, LDCs have rarely made use of this opportunity. Against this background, the ACWL General Assembly has decided that any LDC that has reserved its right to participate in a WTO panel proceeding as a third party may request the ACWL to assist it in that proceeding and any subsequent Appellate Body proceeding free of charge.
The request must be made in writing by a person authorised to represent the LDC in the WTO and must indicate the name(s) of the person(s) from the LDC that will participate in the preparation of submissions and attend hearings. The Executive Director may approve the request if the support by the ACWL is likely to assist the LDC in building its capacity in WTO law, if there is no conflict of interest that would prevent the ACWL’s staff from providing support to the LDC and if providing the support would cause neither financial nor operational problems for the ACWL.
The ACWL has 12 developed country Members which have provided most of the funding of the ACWL through their contributions to the ACWL’s Endowment Fund and Working Capital Fund.
The developed country Members of the ACWL are listed below.
- United Kingdom
- Switzerland (5 December 2004)
- Australia (28 July 2011)
- Germany (9 July 2021)