Focus On

Bennett Jones senior counsel named to CPTPP dispute resolution roster

Wednesday, November 06, 2019 @ 2:04 PM | By John Chunn

Last Updated: Thursday, November 07, 2019 @ 9:29 AM

Bennett Jones announced that senior counsel Valerie Hughes, a member of the firm’s international trade law practice group, has been named to the roster of panel chairs for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). She is the only Canadian, and one of three women, on the roster.

According to the firm’s press release, Hughes was named together with 14 other individuals through a consensus decision taken by CPTPP parties. As a member of the roster, she can be selected to chair dispute settlement panels established to resolve international trade disputes between CPTPP countries. Her appointment is for a minimum of three years. The agreement between Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region will form a trading bloc representing 495 million consumers and 13.5 per cent of global GDP.

The roster of panel chairs is an integral part of the dispute settlement chapter of the CPTPP. When disputes arise between parties to the agreement, a three-person dispute settlement panel can be requested to rule on the issue. Each disputing party chooses one panellist. The third member serves as chair and is chosen by agreement of the disputing parties. If they fail to agree on a chair, the two selected panellists select one from the roster of panel chairs.

CPTPP panellists and chairs must have expertise in law, international trade, other matters covered by the CPTPP, or the resolution of disputes arising under international trade agreements. Hughes has experience serving as a panellist in international trade disputes under the World Trade Organization (WTO). She was also director of the Legal Affairs Division of the WTO from 2010-2016, and director of the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat from 2001-2005, where she assisted panellists and appellate body judges in resolving disputes between WTO members.