1 Art 11 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
3 Art 12.2(b) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
4 Standard forms for instruments of ratification are reproduced in the UN Treaty Handbook (see Chapter 31 n 1) and in A Aust, Modern Treaty Law and Practice (3rd edn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
5 Though there are occasional exceptions to this rule. For some multilateral agreements the ‘triple depositary’ technique was devised during the period of divided States as a special exception to the general rule, so as to allow each of the component parts of a divided State to sign the treaty or deposit an instrument of ratification or accession with a depositary power that recognized it as a State and thus as entitled to ratify or accede. Examples are: the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including The Moon and Other Celestial Bodies 1967; the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 1968; and the Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft 1972.
6 For the functions of a treaty depositary, see Art 77 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
7 Practice, of course, varies widely as regards the form and wording of an instrument of ratification. The UN Treaty Handbook (see Chapter 31 n 1) contains model texts in the Annexes.
8 This is popularly known as the ‘Ponsonby rule’; see the FCO Guidance (see Chapter 31 n 1), in particular the descriptive note on the operation of the rule. The Ponsonby Rule is now enacted into law with some changes by ss 20–25 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
9 A wide selection of national systems is described in D Hollis, M Blakeslee, and B Ederington (eds), National Treaty Law and Practice (Leiden, Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, for the American Society of International Law, 2005).
10 Art 2(b) (emphasis supplied). In the analogous situation of the withdrawal of a reservation, the International Court has drawn a firm distinction between the adoption of internal legislation authorizing withdrawal and the formal notification of withdrawal on the international plane: Case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo  ICJ Reports 6, 23–7 (for Reservations, see Chapter 35).
11 Arnold McNair, The Law of Treaties (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961) 133–4.
12 For multilateral conventions concluded under the auspices of the UN, thirty-five is often the chosen number, but there may be further qualifications as well: the UN Charter required the ratification of all five States designated as permanent members of the Security Council, and the same rule applies to all amendments to the Charter.
13 As, for example, with all of the constitutional treaties of the European Union.
14 For the possibility of making ratification subject to reservations, see Chapter 35.
15  ILC Reports 30; see also J Mervyn Jones, Full Powers and Ratification (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946) 12–20 and 74–90.
16 PCIJ, Series A, No 23, 20.
17 Arts 12, 14, and 15; see also Ian Sinclair, The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (2nd edn, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984) 40–1.
18 For example, the then French government failed to obtain in 1954 the necessary parliamentary approval required to enable France to ratify the European Defence Community Treaty. More recently, the difficulties are well known that have faced the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe of 29 October 2004, and the subsequent Treaty of Lisbon of 13 December 2007, following their failure to be approved by referendum in certain EU Member States. US accession to the Third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea has been pending in the Senate for more than 20 years.
19 Though it is rare that the gap between signature and ratification is as long as 63 years, as for the United Kingdom ratification (in 1970) of the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. A more modern example is the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, signed by the United Kingdom in 1977, but not ratified until 1998.
20 In 2002 the USA, which had signed on 31 December 2000 the Statute of the International Criminal Court, gave formal written notice to the Government of Italy, as depositary of the treaty, of its intention not to proceed to ratification; this has vulgarly, but not entirely accurately, been written about as an attempt to ‘un-sign’ the treaty as a result of the unhappy use in the US notification of the phrase ‘suspend’ in respect of the US signature.
21 The process is sometimes called ‘adherence’ or ‘adhesion’ (in French ‘adhésion’), but the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties uses the term ‘accession’.
22 Art 43 simply provides that ‘the present General Act shall be open to accession by all the Heads of State or other competent authorities of the Members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States to which the Council of the League of Nations has communicated a copy for this purpose’; 93 LNTS 343.
24 Approved by the UN General Assembly on 13 February 1946: 1 UNTS 15 and 90 UNTS 327.
26 Under Art 81 the Convention was opened for signature until 30 November 1969, at the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, and subsequently, until 30 April 1970, at United Nations Headquarters in New York; and under Art 83 it is to remain ‘open for accession’ thereafter.
27  ILC Reports 32.
28 For example, under Art 84 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties itself, the Convention ‘shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the thirty-fifth instrument of ratification or accession’.
29 Treaty Series No 56 (1949) Cmd 7789.
31 Previously, once a favourable decision was taken by the General Assembly, membership became effective on the date on which the applicant State presented to the Secretary-General an instrument of adherence. The first six new members (Afghanistan, Iceland, Pakistan, Sweden, Thailand, and Yemen) were admitted to membership of the United Nations in this way.
32 Sinclair, The Vienna Convention, 230–1; but see S Nahlik, ‘La Conférence de Vienne sur le droit des traités. Une vue d’ensemble’ (1969) 15(1) Annuaire Français de Droit International 48–9.
33 The UN Handbook (at para 3.3.4) indicates that ‘[t]he Secretary-General, as depositary, has tended to treat instruments of ratification that have not been preceded by signature as instruments of accession, and the States concerned have been advised accordingly’.
34  ILC Reports 31.
35 Treaty Series No 65 (1955) Cmd 9582.
36 Now the Intergovernmental Maritime Organization (IMO); the consolidated text of the Convention as revised is available at <http://www.imo.org/>.
37 Similar provisions can be found in other IMO Conventions.
38 See Liang in (1950) 44 AJIL 342–9.
40  ILC Reports 31.
41 Questions of an equivalent kind arise in respect of the property of the State in all its forms, the liabilities of the State (including its debts), and the ownership of and access to historical, archival, and cultural materials.
43 Though the continuity was qualified, for uniting States, by the proviso that the application of inherited treaties would remain limited to the territory to which they originally applied, in other words not to the entire territory of the new State, a limitation that was found particularly difficult to accept in the case of Germany; see further at paragraph 34.41.
44 Though this may in turn require a more active role than the purely neutral and mechanical one that many depositaries had come to accustom themselves to playing.
45 It has also been suggested, notably by monitoring bodies under these instruments, that human rights treaties have a special character, in that their purpose and effect is to guarantee fundamental rights for the benefit of individuals, and that ‘once the people are accorded the protection of the rights under the Covenant, such protection devolves with territory and continues to belong to them, notwithstanding changes in government of the State Party, including dismemberment in more than one State or State succession or any subsequent action of the State Party designed to divest them of the rights guaranteed by the Covenant’: General Comment No 26 of 8 December 1997 by the Committee under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Document CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.8/Rev.1, available at <http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/06b6d70077 b4df2c8025655400387939?Opendocument>.
46 The same distinction is made in the Analyses published by the British government in advance of the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014; see Cm 8554 of February 2013 and Cm 8765 of January 2014, especially the legal expert opinion annexed to the latter.
47 Legality of Use of Force (Yugoslavia v United Kingdom)  ICJ Reports 826, later sub nom. Serbia and Montenegro v United Kingdom  ICJ Reports 1307; Case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v Yugoslavia)  ICJ Reports 595,  ICJ Reports 7, later sub nom. Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro  ICJ Reports 43.
48 For a full account see D Papenfuss, ‘The Fate of the International Treaties of the GDR within the Framework of German Unification’ (1998) 92 AJIL 469, who points out that the GDR had pursued a hyper-active policy of treaty making as a device for seeking recognition.