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Desiree LeClercq headshot

LeClercq Appointed to EU List of Expert Arbitrators

Deisrée LeClercq, the Proskauer Employment and Labor Law Assistant Professor at ILR, has been named by the European Commission to a pool of individuals eligible for appointment as arbitrators of trade disputes.

“It is an honor to be selected as a potential chairperson to a dispute arising under the EU’s Trade and Sustainable Development chapters,” LeClercq said. “Those disputes are bound to present novel questions surrounding intent, sovereignty and fundamental labor rights. At the ILR School, I teach my students about these complexities and work with them to conceptualize a fair, equitable and sustainable path forward. I look forward to applying those lessons should I be selected.”

The pool is the result of a new selection mechanism, which addresses demands from stakeholders and the European Parliament for a more transparent, independent and inclusive process. Eligible candidates come from diverse backgrounds and include legal practitioners and academics from the European Union and across the world.

LeClercq’s nomination reflects her research and writing along the intersection of trade and fundamental rights. In 2021, LeClercq published “The Disparate Treatment of Rights in U.S. Trade Agreements,” where she challenged traditional conceptions of how governments enforce international rights under trade agreements.

In that article, LeClercq pointed out how the United States uses sustainability chapters in its trade agreements to impose its own standards on other countries, rather than protect international rights.

Her work further advances that conversation by showing how U.S. trade agencies enjoy significant discretion to interpret international rights through a U.S. lens. In a series of recommendations, LeClercq describes ways to shift the interpretive discretion of international rights and sustainability under trade instruments to afford vulnerable communities with genuine rights protections on the ground.

Dispute settlement is an important element in ensuring the correct implementation of the EU’s trade and investment agreements with its trade partners. The European Commission will draw on the new pool to make proposals for the appointment of arbitrators and trade and sustainable development experts in specific cases, or for pre-agreed lists under the relevant bilateral agreements with third countries.

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