Isabelle Van Damme
Isabelle Van Damme specialises in international trade law (WTO and preferential trade agreements), EU law and public international law, and represents States and individuals before international courts and tribunals.
International trade law (WTO and preferential trade agreements)
Isabelle previously gained experience in the area of WTO law as an associate at a Geneva-based law firm. She has also worked as a Legal Intern at the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat.
She has taught WTO law at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) (Belgium).
Isabelle has significant expertise in the area of EU law.
Isabelle helps governments and industry with all matters relating to Brexit. She has appeared as an expert witness before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, speaking on Brexit and agriculture, and before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, answering questions on the implications of the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop for Northern Ireland.
Isabelle previously worked as a référendaire in the chambers of Advocate General Sharpston at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Public international law
Isabelle regularly advises on a wide range of public international law matters, including the territorial scope of application of treaties, treaty obligations, human rights, investment and sanctions. She also advises on all matters relating to international dispute settlement and the negotiation of international agreements. Furthermore, she assists States with matters involving the interpretation and enforcement of UN, EU and national sanctions.
Isabelle has acted or advised as counsel in cases before the WTO and the Court of Justice of the European Union relating to the right of self-determination, the principle of sovereignty over natural resources and the protection of essential security interests.
Isabelle previously gained valuable experience in public international law as a Legal Liaison Officer at the United Nations Secretariat, Legal Affairs, Codification Division.
She has taught public international law at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), the World Trade Institute/University of Bern (Switzerland), and the University of Leuven (KUL) (Belgium).
Dutch, English, French, Spanish
- Legal 500 for WTO: Switzerland
- University of Cambridge, Ph.D in Law, 2007
- Georgetown University, Certificate in WTO Law, 2003
- Georgetown University, LL.M., distinction and Dean’s Certificate, 2003
- Georgetown University, Diploma in American Law and Legal Education, 2002
- University of Ghent, Master of Laws, magna cum laude, 2002
- University of Ghent, Bachelor of Law, magna cum laude, 1999
Isabelle has published widely in the areas of EU and international trade law and some examples are listed below.
Monographs and edited books
Chapters in books
‘Technical Barriers to Trade’ in M. Hahn and G. Van der Loo (eds), Law and Practice of the Common Commercial Policy (Brill/Nijhoff, forthcoming).
‘Preliminary rulings’ in J. Huerta-Goldman and M. Molina-Tejeda (eds), Practical Aspects of WTO Litigation (Kluwer Law International, forthcoming).
‘Trade’ in M. Bowman and D. Kritsiotis (eds), Conceptual and Contextual Perspectives on the Modern Law of Treaties (Cambridge University Press, 2018) (with Joost Pauwelyn).
‘Treaties and Treaty Interpretation in International Economic Law’ in T. Cottier and K. Nadakavukaren Schefer (eds), Encyclopedia of International Economic Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017).
‘Procedural review in WTO law’ in J. Gerards and E. Brems (eds), Procedural review in European fundamental rights cases (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
‘Good Faith in Treaty Interpretation’ in A. Mitchell, M. Sornarajah and T. Voon (eds), Good Faith in International Investment Law (Oxford University Press, 2015) (with Eric De Brabandere).
‘The Appellate Body’s Use of the Articles on State Responsibility in US – Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties (China)’ in C. Chinkin and F. Baetens (eds), Sovereignty, Statehood and State Responsibility: Essays in Honour of James Crawford (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
‘Jurisdiction, Applicable Law and Interpretation’ in D. Bethlehem, D. McRae, R. Neufeld, and I. Van Damme (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law (Oxford University Press, 2009).
‘Achmea: potential consequences for CETA, the Multilateral Investment Court, Brexit and other EU trade and investment agreements’, International Litigation Blog (March 2018) (with Quentin Declève).
‘The Judicial Trilemma: a response by Isabelle Van Damme’, 111 American Journal of International Law Unbound (2017) 359-363.
‘Professor John H. Jackson and the normative challenges of the WTO’, 19(2) Journal of International Economic Law (2016) 343-346.
‘Case C-414/11 Daiichi: The Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the Competence of the European Union over the TRIPS Agreement’, 4(1) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (2015) 73-87.
‘A practical perspective on treaty interpretation: the Court of Justice of the European Union and the WTO dispute settlement system’, 3(2) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (2014) 489-507 (with Andreas Sennekamp).
‘Co-Adaptation in the International Legal Order: the EU and the WTO’, Proceedings of the Bi-Annual Meeting of the European Society of International Law (2011) 311-325 (with Geert De Baere).
‘On ‘Good Faith Use of Dictionary in the Search of Ordinary Meaning under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding’ – A Reply to Professor Chang-Fa Lo’, 2(1) Journal of International Dispute Settlement (2011) 231-239.
‘Treaty Interpretation by the WTO Appellate Body’, 21(3) European Journal of International Law (2010) 605-648.
‘Inherent Powers of and for the WTO Appellate Body’, Centre for Trade and Economic Integration Working Paper, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva) (August 2008), available at <graduateinstitute.ch/ctei/page2142.html>
‘The Non-Politics of Interpreting Silences in the WTO Covered Agreements’, 102 ASIL Proceedings (2008) 420-424.
‘Appellate Body Report, Brazil – Measures Affecting Imports of Retreaded Tyres’, 57(3) International and Comparative Law Quarterly (2008) 710-723.
‘Some Observations about the ILC Study Group Report on the Fragmentation of International Law: WTO Treaty Interpretation Against the Background of Other International Law’, XVII Finnish Yearbook of International Law (2006) 47-65.
‘The Interpretation of Schedules of Commitments’, 41(1) Journal of World Trade (2007) 1-54.
Isabelle Van Damme regularly lectures on trade law and EU external relations law. She previously was a lecturer and the Turpin Lipstein Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Clare College. She has also taught at the World Trade Institute, the University of Leuven (KUL) and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).
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