‘self-contained’ regimes, WTO, lex specialis, public international law
The presented paper addresses the existence of so-called ‘self-contained’ regimes which are supposed to exist in separation from general international law. Regarding this point, two objectives of the work emerge. First, whether they really exist and second, if WTO law may be conceived as such a regime. In the first part, the scope of lex specialis is examined both as a rule and as a conflict resolving maxim. Elaborating on the lex specialis rule as a constituting element of ‘self-contained’ regimes, the possible meanings of these regimes are defined and supported by case law. Consequently, WTO law is addressed from the point of view of its functioning and, of course, the matter of meeting the criteria for it to be considered a ‘self-contained’ regime. Finally, the notion of ‘self-containedness’ in regard to general international law is addressed, as well as the possibility and consequences of the failure of such regimes.