Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Part I Foundational Issues, 4 Compliance or Effectiveness? Assessing the Reach (and Limits) of Treaty-Making

Lisa L Martin

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: 10 December 2023

Compliance with international decisions — Treaties, observance

This chapter considers the question of how treaties can work if their members do not comply with the treaty’s terms. It argues that treaty effectiveness has only a minimal relation to compliance as generally understood by treaty lawyers and scholars. Treaty lawyers tend to focus first and foremost on divining the contours of agreement — what terms can be negotiated and concluded? Once a treaty exists, their concerns shift to implementation with an eye to making — or avoiding — claims that a member has breached whatever obligations the treaty imposes. The chapter begins by describing how the extant literature conceptualizes and measures treaty compliance and effectiveness. It then focuses on distinguishing these two concepts, and emphasizes how questions of treaty effectiveness, not compliance, deserve higher priority. The final section offers some practical advice and principles for pursuing more effective treaty-making.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.