The Law of Treaties
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The Law of Treaties

An Introduction

Robert Kolb

Permeating all facets of public international law, the modern law of treaties is a fundamental aspect of governance in the ‘democratized’ world. In this contemporary introduction, Robert Kolb provides a refreshing study that is both legally analytical and practical. Written in a highly readable style, the book explores the key topics through concise chapters, which are organized into two parts. The first of these gives a structured overview of the law of treaties along with practical examples. The second provides a critical engagement with the underlying issues and discusses the multi-dimensional problems raised by legal regulations, explored through specific case studies.
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Chapter XII: Treaties and customary international law

Robert Kolb


Multilateral conventions or a series of bilateral treaties on the same subject matter are not legal acts isolated from customary international law (CIL). Both entertain several interrelations. The conduct of States in concluding treaties and in deciding on their content is a form of State practice; and the content of the rules adopted reflects a view on what the law should be (opinio juris). Both therefore have some impact on CIL. In legal doctrine, three main forms of interaction are distinguished: (i) a treaty can be declaratory of CIL (codification); (ii) a treaty can be constitutive of new rules of CIL (progressive development of the law); (iii) a treaty can crystallize a customary law process. It stands to reason that in most cases a treaty will contain provisions of different type, some based on codification, others on progressive development; some reflecting CIL, others hoping to produce new CIL.

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