Third World to seek private lawyers' expertise on WTO

Private lawyers are set to play a much more important role in representing developing countries which are bringing cases before the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a leading Canadian trade lawyer has predicted.

Simon Potter, of Canadian firm Ogilvy Renault, told a meeting on the WTO that an increasing tendency for smaller countries to bring cases before the trade body was opening up new opportunities for private practitioners.

“It is clear that the rules will have to become more flexible as to who can plead cases,” he said.

“Smaller countries, even when they band together, cannot be expected to be able to draw on the pools of in-house expertise which the larger countries have accumulated.”

He added that even some larger countries which had a long history of appearing before the body were likely to find their in-house resources stretched to the limit, thanks to the continuing growth of WTO-related work.