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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, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 September 2020

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

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

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). 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 cumulatively...
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