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 17: Succession to treaties and the inherent limits of international law

Andreas Zimmermann and James G. Devaney

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


It is almost mandatory to start any chapter on State succession to treaties by reasserting that it is one of the most opaque areas of international law, lacking both a basis in consistent State practiceas well as satisfactory theoretical underpinnings. Whilst this may be a mere statement of the obvious, today the basic point remains, namely that the law on State succession in relation to treaties is, to say the least, far from settled. In fact, despite significant codification attempts undertaken by the international community in the 1970s, and the substantial body of literature on State succession generally, there continues to exist ‘an almost total doctrinal schism’. Today one might still get the impression that every ‘international lawyer seeking a way out of this marshland is as likely as ever to be led into the centre of the miry bog itself’. With the impression that ‘the more that is written on the subject, the less clear or coherent the whole becomes’ very much in mind, this contribution nevertheless undertakes the (Sisyphean) task to provide clarity and a straightforward analysis of this often vexing area of international law starting with an analysis of the very notion of State succession before then turning to the historical development of the concept in relation to treaties.

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