Apologies for this rant, but the new format for heading numbering in WTO dispute settlement reports is getting to me. Here's the problem, taking the EC - Seal Products panel report as an example. Let's say you are on p. 144, and you come to this heading:
18.104.22.168.4.5 Overall assessment of the reasonable availability of an alternative measure, taking account of risks of non-fulfilment would create
When you look at this heading alone, it's really hard to figure out where you are in the report. That's six numerical sub-headings, separated by periods!
You might scroll up a bit, to get your bearings, and on p. 139 you get to this:
22.214.171.124.4.4 Reasonable availability of the alternative measure
That's not much help, so you keep going until you see a higher level heading, like this one on p. 134:
126.96.36.199.3 Risks non-fulfilment of the objective would create
It's not until you get to p. 125 that you get a good sense of where you are:
188.8.131.52 Whether the EU Seal Regime is more trade restrictive than necessary to fulfil a legitimate objective, taking account of the risks non-fulfilment would create
And it's on p. 109 where the section starts, with this:
7.3.3 Article 2.2
Yes, there is a table of contents to guide you a bit, but at least in this report, it only goes to 5 levels, not the 6 that are actually used. Anyway, I find the whole approach very hard to follow. I would have thought that using the more traditional I.A.1. etc. would be easier.
And while I'm at it, a friend of mine has complained about the new font:
Do you know anything about the decision to start issuing panel and AB reports in Verdana? Now I realize this is partly a matter of taste, but I do believe that there is some scientific evidence to suggest that large passages of text are harder to read in sans-serif typefaces. (Just ask yourself this – when was the last time you read a book set in a sans-serif typeface?)
I feel less strongly about this one, although it does throw me off a little to read Verdana.