Table of Contents

Research Handbook on the Law of Treaties

Research Handbook on the Law of Treaties

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Christian J. Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann

Offering a unique conceptual approach to the Law of Treaties this insightful Research Handbook not only sets out the foundational issues, but identifies tensions within the field, including formalism vs flexibility, integrity vs flexibility, and uniformity vs specialisation, to name a few. It seeks to define and re-define the dimensions in which Treaty law operates, tracing its fault-lines and the challenges it faces, such as breaches, regime-collisions, state succession and armed conflict. Representing a broad range of jurisdictional and ideological perspectives, the Research Handbook provides a diverse and stimulating approach to international treaties.

Chapter 12: Uniformity versus specialization (1): The quest for a uniform law of inter-State treaties

Malgosia Fitzmaurice and Panos Merkouris

Subjects: law - academic, public international law, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations


The recent proliferation of international courts and tribunals, accompanied by the expansion of areas regulated by international law with ever increasing density, has led to an equally increasing fear of fragmentation both at an institutional and at a normative level. The present chapter examines whether the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) rules or their customary law equivalents provide the actors in the international arena with a uniform set of rules, or whether practice has demonstrated that they are only a ‘springboard’ allowing the States flexibility to adopt more tailor-made solutions. In order to avoid any overlaps with other contributions in the present handbook, the analysis will focus on three main areas of the law of treaties: i) the provisions relating to the creation of conventional obligations, that is, what is a treaty, ii) the issues relating to consent to be bound, and iii) the provisions relating to amendment of treaties. These areas refer, on the one hand, to the emergence of a binding treaty and, on the other, to its continued, albeit somewhat transformed, existence. In this manner a complete overview of the genesis and life of a treaty can be given and certain conclusions can be reached as to the existence or not of a characteristic of uniformity of the relevant provisions amongst inter-State treaties.

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