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Part I Foundational Issues, 1 Defining Treaties

Duncan B Hollis

From: The Oxford Guide to Treaties (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Duncan B. Hollis

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 02 December 2023

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties — Object & purpose (treaty interpretation and)

This chapter provides a comprehensive and robust overview of the treaty than the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties’ (VCLT) standard treatment. Part I elaborates three contexts beyond the VCLT where the ‘treaty’ acquires a different definition, and what purposes that definition serves in each setting. Part II unpacks the treaty’s meaning in a specific context — international law — along constitutive, differential, and functional lines. It explains how to constitute a treaty using Article 2(1)(a) as a baseline, and differentiates the treaty from other concepts of commitment and agreement while acknowledging questions about the mutual exclusivity of these concepts. Finally, the chapter adopts a functional perspective to explain the evolution in what treaties do across several distinct dimensions. It concludes by asking if the treaty concept might benefit from further clarification or disaggregation as these treaty functions continue to evolve.

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