Centre for Commercial Law

Centre for Commercial Law

Fiona Smith   FIONA SMITH
LLB (Wales), LLM (Leicester), PhD (Leicester)
Senior Lecturer
Chair, Undergraduate Exam Board

contact details:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1470 | internal: x21470
Email: fiona.m.smith@ucl.ac.uk

Fiona joined UCL in August 2005 after holding posts at the University of Sheffield and the University of Leicester. Her research interests are in International economic law, particularly the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She has published widely on WTO law, and is an expert on international agricultural trade. She has spoken about her research in the USA, Europe and the Far East.

Fiona’s work challenges the traditional ways of thinking about WTO Law. She has developed her ideas from a Commercial Law, rather than a Public International Law background and is interested in how rules work in international regulatory environments to better serve commercial interests. Her work is informed by literature from jurisprudence, doctrinal research, political theory and theories of language. As a consequence of her work, she was invited to become a member of the editorial board of the journal Jurisprudence, published by Hart. In March 2012 she was also appointed as expert on International Economic Law to the funding body, Research Foundation Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzock: http://www.fwo.be/. She is the Founding and now Co-Director of the WTO Scholars' Forum, an initiative designed to bring together experts on the law of the World Trade Organization to discuss topical issues.

Fiona has recently completed a two year project on Food Security, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Multilevel Governance in Weak States with Dr. Christian Häberli and Professor Christine Kauffman, World Trade Institute, Switzerland, supported by a grant from the Swiss National Fund.

Selected Publications

Chapters in Books

  • “Contemporary Problems of Climate Change and the TBT Agreement: Moving Beyond Eco-Labelling,” with Michael Cardwell, in T. Epps & M. Trebilcock (eds), Research Handbook on the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, Edward Elgar, (2013, in press).
  • 'Food Security and International Agricultural Trade Regulation: Old Problems, New Perspectives” in JA McMahon & M Desta (eds), Handbook on International Agricultural Trade Regulation, (2012) Edward Elgar ISBN 978-1-84844-116-3 Chapter 2, 45-69.
  • “Regulating E-Commerce in the WTO: Exploring the Classification Issue,” in Graham & Smith (eds), Competition, Regulation and the New Economy (2004) Hart at 159-185.
  • “Slaying the Dragon? The Impact of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture on the EC Common Agricultural Policy,” in M. R. Redclift, J. N. Lekakis & G. P. Zanias(eds.): Agriculture and World Trade Liberalisation: Socio-Environmental Perspectives on the Common Agricultural Policy (1998) CAB International at 119-140.


  • “Renegotiating the WTO Agreement on Agriculture: Accommodating the New Big Issues,” with Michael Cardwell, (2013) International and Comparative Law Quarterly (accepted).
  • “Power, Rules and the WTO,” (2013) Boston College Law Review & International and Comparative Law Review Joint Issue, (in press).
  • 'Indigenous Farmers’ Rights, International Agricultural Trade and the WTO” (2011) (2) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 157-177.
  • 'Regulating Agriculture in the WTO” (2011) 7 International Journal of Law in Context 233-247.
  • 'Law, Language and International Agricultural Trade Regulation” (2010) 63 Current Legal Problems 448-474.
  • “The Limitations of a Legal Approach to the Regulation of Cultural Diversity in the WTO: the problem of international agricultural trade,” (2008) 3(1) Asian Journal of the WTO & International Health Law and Policy 51-80.
  • “Language, Law and Legitimacy in the Agreement on Agriculture: are we solving the right problem?” (2008) 1 Indian Journal of International Economic Law 34-79.
  • “Thinking Outside the Green Box: Non-Trade Concerns in a Post-Doha Environment,” (2007) 9 (2) Environmental Law Review 89-115.
  • “Moving Towards a Cohesive Relationship between Trade and Human Rights,” (2007) 13(4) European Law Journal 563-571.
  • A Distinction Without A Difference: Determining the Boundary Between Goods and Services in the WTO and the European Union,” (with Lorna Woods), (2005/6) 12(1) Columbia Journal of European Law 1-51 & reprinted in (2005) 24 Oxford Yearbook of European Law 463-511.
  • “Possono essere risolti guidizialmente gli ‘aspetti non commerciali?’ L’inserimento di nuovi argomenti nell’Accordo sull ‘Agricoltural della World Trade Organisation” (2001) 2(1) April-June Rivista di Dirritto Agrario 248-272.
  • “Renegotiating Lomé: the impact of the World Trade Organisation on the European Community’s Development Policy After the Bananas Conflict (2000) 25(3) European Law Review 247-263.
  • “Multifunctionality and Non-Trade Concerns in the Agriculture Negotiations” (2000) 3(4) Journal of International Economic Law 707-713.
  • “Deregulation of Public Monopolies under Article 90EC: Lessons from the Privatisation of the Milk Marketing Board” [1995] Journal of Business Law 506-517.
  • “Milking the Market” (1995) 20 European Law Review 214-219.

Conference Papers:

  • Swansea University, ‘Global Challenges, Global Law: A Symposium on the Future of International Law and Global Governance,’ Swansea, Wales, UK: “Climate Change, Food Security and Human Vulnerability: The Limits of International Trade Regulation,” June 2013.
  • UCL Institute of Global Health, ‘Global Food Security: Creating Resilience in the Face of Catastrophic Climate Change,’ London, UK: “Global Food Policy: The Challenges,” February 2013.
  • World Trade Institute, Bern, Switzerland: “Land Grab and Human Rights: Mapping Multilevel Governance of Food Security in Weak States,” November 2012.
  • Boston College Symposium, ‘Filling Power Vacuums in the New Global Legal Order,’ Boston, USA: “Locating Power in the WTO,” October 2012.
  • Bi-annual Conference of the Society of International Economic Law, Singapore: “Food Security, FDI and Multilevel Governance in Weak States,” July 2012. Bi-Annual Conference of Society of International Economic Law, Singapore: Food Security, FDI and Multilevel Governance in Weak States, 2012.
  • 11th Annual Conference on International Economic Law, British Institute of International Comparative Law, London UK, in association with Institute of International Economic Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA: “Prospects for the Conclusion of the Doha Round in International Agricultural Trade: The Impact of the Financial Crisis,” 26 May 2011.
  • Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalization, University of Southampton: “Understanding the Nature of WTO Obligations: a Law & Language Approach,” 9 Feb 2011.
  • Public International Law Discussion Group, University of Oxford: “Treaty Interpretation in the WTO: Beyond the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties,” 9 November 2010.
  • Chicago-Kent Law School, Chicago, USA seminar series: “Language and International Agricultural Trade: a new methodological approach,” 17 February 2010.
  • University of Exeter seminar series: “Interpretation in the WTO Agreements: Beyond The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties,” 4 November 2009.
  • WTO Scholars’ Forum & World Trade Law Association High Level Meeting, Steptoe & Johnson LLP London UK: “Agriculture as a Polycentric Problem,” 6 May 2009.
  • German Marshall Fund, Washington DC, USA: “Agriculture and the WTO: Towards a New Theory of International Agricultural Trade Regulation,” Chair, Jennifer Hillman, WTO Appellate Body. I discussed the findings in my book on agriculture for Edward Elgar with policy advisors from the United States’ Department of Agriculture, US State Department and US Congress officials, civil society members and experts from academia. 6 November 2008.
  • Inaugural Conference for the Society of International Economic Law, ‘New Horizons in International Economic Law,’ World Trade Institute, Geneva, Switzerland: “Meaning and Interpretation: the role of semantics in international agricultural trade regulation in the WTO,” 15-17 July 2008.
  • 8th Annual WTO Conference, British Institute of International and Comparative Law in association with the Institute of International Economic Law, London, UK: “Agricultural Trade in the WTO: Implications for a new Agreement,” 13-14 May 2008.
  • Asian Centre for WTO Law and International Health Law and Policy, College of Law, National Taiwan University and Council of Cultural Affairs, Executive Yuan, Taiwan: “The Limitations of a Legal Approach to the Regulation of Cultural Diversity: the problem of international agricultural trade,” 28-29 June 2007.
  • International Studies Association, Annual Conference, Chicago, USA: “Language, Law and Non-Trade Concerns in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture,” 28 February-3 March 2007.
  • British International Studies Association Annual Conference in Cork, Eire: “Reconciling the Irreconcilable: Law, Politics and Non-Trade Concerns in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture,” 18-20 December 2006.
  • Legal Dimensions of the Doha Round: Symposium on Trade and Development, Hong Kong, East Asia International Economic Law and Policy Programme, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, China: “Non-Trade Concerns in a Post Doha Environment: changing the WTO Agreement on Agriculture,”17 December 2005.
  • 5th Annual WTO Conference of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center and Journal of International Economic Law, London: “Towards a Model of WTO Agriculture: Is there a role for non-trade concerns in the Agreement on Agriculture after Cotton and Sugar?” 17-18 May 2005.
  • The WTO at the Crossroads, Bar Ilan University, Israel: “Thinking Outside the Green Box: fitting non-trade concerns into the WTO Agreement on Agriculture,” 13-14 December 2004.

Current Teaching
Commercial Law
The World Trade Organisation Trade Linkages in the WTO
Law and the Governance of Global Health

PhD Supervision
Fiona welcomes enquiries from PhD students in the areas of WTO law, particularly international agricultural trade.

page updated on 23 January, 2014