But What Will the WTO Disciplines Apply To? Distinguishing Among Market Access, National Treatment and Article VI:4 Measures When Applying the GATS to Legal Services

Laurel Terry


One of the issues currently facing World Trade Organization (WTO) Member States is whether to extend to the legal profession and other service providers the WTO Disciplines for Domestic Regulation in the Accountancy Sector [Accountancy Disciplines]. The Accountancy Disciplines document applies to regulatory measures that would be considered domestic regulations under Article VI:4 of the GATS, rather than market access or national treatment measures under Articles XVI or XVII of the GATS. This paper argues that in order to meaningfully discuss whether to extend the Accountancy Disciplines to the legal profession, U.S. policy-makers and stakeholders need to understand the type of lawyer regulations to which the Disciplines might apply. The paper sets forth the principles that will be used to determine whether a particular legal services measure would constitute a domestic regulation measure that would be subject to any future Disciplines.

The second part of this paper is an Appendix that provides specific examples of legal services measures. This Legal Services Examples List is intended to be a legal services-specific counterpart to the Examples list assembled by the WTO Secretariat. (The WTO Secretariat's Examples paper does not address legal services specifically and is no longer publicly available.) The examples contained in this Appendix will provide a concrete context in which policymakers and stakeholders can debate the application of the principles discussed in the first part of the paper.