The Multiple Challenges
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Christina Leb and Mara Tignino
State succession, the change of sovereignty over a certain territory, often creates political and legal uncertainties. Irrespective of whether this change is due to the emergence of a new State or the transfer of the territory to an existing State, people and resources located in the territory become subject to a new governing entity and new neighborhood relations are created. These aspects and the incertitude about the fate of previously established legal relationships may cause disputes. Universally accepted rules on the legal effects of a change in sovereignty could mitigate or prevent such disputes from emerging; however, State practice is inconsistent in this area. It has been and continues to be characterized by solutions adopted on a case-by-case basis. The 1978 Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect to Treaties was an attempt to provide clarity on the legal regime of succession. Its content was drafted against the background of the experience of State practice during decolonization and, already then, much of it was progressive development classifying diverse State practice and treaties into restrictive categories.
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