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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Treaties, Fundamental Change of Circumstances

Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 March 2023

Customary international law — Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties — Treaties, fundamental change of circumstances — State practice

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 Art. 62 (1) Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) (‘VCLT’) provides that, as a general rule, a fundamental change of circumstances, even if not foreseen by the parties, ‘may not be invoked as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from the treaty’ (Treaties, Termination; Treaties). Hence, the principle of pacta sunt servanda prevails unless the treaty’s ‘stipulations come to place an undue burden on one of the parties as a result of a fundamental change of circumstances’ (1966 YBILC 258 para. 6). This is the case if the following conditions are...
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