Only GATT contracting parties could have recourse to the procedures in Articles XXII and XXIII of the GATT 1947, and could therefore be parties to a GATT dispute. Disputes under the Tokyo Round codes could take place only between signatories to these agreements, i.e. a subset of GATT contracting parties.

In the interest of accuracy, this publication has maintained the historical names of parties at the time of each dispute, e.g. Ceylon, Czechoslovakia, Hong Kong, the Federal Republic of Germany, Yugoslavia, or the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Similarly, the European Economic Communities (EEC) was initially composed of six member States, and subsequently enlarged to 9, 10 and 12 until the entry into force of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. Accordingly, this publication makes reference to EEC-6, EEC-9, EEC- 10 or EEC-12, and it also refers to individual EEC member States (e.g. France, Italy, etc.) for cases where they acted in their own capacity.

During almost five decades of GATT disputes, third-party participation evolved considerably. In early GATT disputes, non-disputing contracting parties would sometimes orally express their position with regard to the matter at issue. Later, third-party participation became increasingly visible in the written records.