The Oxford Guide to Treaties

The Oxford Guide to Treaties

The Oxford guide to Treaties I had a good day yesterday. I received a package in the mail from Oxford containing copies of my book — The Oxford Guide to Treaties. It represents the culmination of a three year effort on my part to compile a comprehensive and current guide to treaty law and practice.  To do this, I started with a fairly simple premise — in this age of specialization, why not ask the world’s leading experts on various issues of treaty law and practice to write about their particular areas of expertise and edit those contributions together in a way that covers the entire field.  With these academic explanations as a starting point, I then sought to build a set of sample treaty clauses — examples of how existing treaty texts have addressed the manifold issues associated with constructing what has now become the dominant form of international cooperation.  I’ll admit the effort proved quite a bit more daunting and rigorous that I had imagined at the outset.  But, looking at it last night, I’m thrilled with the results.

The truth is, moreover, I couldn’t have done this book without a lot of help — the OUP staff was phenomenal (not to mention patient) with my sundry questions and suggestions.  And, of course, this project wouldn’t exist without all my fellow contributors.  They were universally thoughtful and committed to the idea of laying out the state of play in their respective areas, including existing doctrines, disagreements, and areas where progressive development may be warranted.  I could fill a whole blog post (and may yet still) acknowledging what each of the twenty-seven contributors brought to the table and how grateful I am to each of them.  For now though let me single out David Bederman who authored his chapter in what he knew to be the final months of his life.  That sort of effort leaves me speechless.

I hope to blog more about the book in the coming months. But, for those readers interested in purchasing it —  you can do so today in Europe. U.S. readers can order it now as well, although I understand U.S. copies won’t be published till mid-October. In the meantime, for those interested in knowing more about the book, the final table of contents follows after the jump.

The Oxford Guide to Treaties



  • Table of Cases
  • Table of Instruments
  • List of Abbreviations
  • List of Contributors

Introduction – Duncan B Hollis


1. Defining Treaties – Duncan B Hollis

2. Alternatives to Treaty-Making: MOUs as Political Commitments – Anthony Aust

3. Who Can Make Treaties? International Organizations – Olufemi Elias

4. Who Can Make Treaties? The European Union – Marise Cremona

5. Who Can Make Treaties? Other Subjects of International Law – Tom Grant

6. NGOs in International Treaty-Making – Kal Raustiala


7. Making the Treaty – George Korontzis

8. Treaty Signature – Curtis A Bradley

9. Provisional Application of Treaties – Robert E Dalton

10. Managing the Process of Treaty Formation—Depositaries and Registration – Arancha Hinojal-Oyarbide and Annebeth Rosenboom

11. Treaty Reservations – Edward T Swaine


12. The Territorial Application of Treaties – Syméon Karagiannis

13. Third Party Rights and Obligations in Treaties – David J Bederman

14. Treaty Amendments – Jutta Brunnée

15. Domestic Application of Treaties – David Sloss

16. State Succession in Respect of Treaties – Gerhard Hafner and Gregor Novak

17. Treaty Bodies and Regimes – Geir Ulfstein

18. Treaty Conflicts and Normative Fragmentation – Christopher J Borgen


19. The Vienna Convention Rules on Treaty Interpretation – Richard Gardiner

20. Specialized Rules of Treaty Interpretation: International Organizations – Catherine Brölmann

21. Specialized Rules of Treaty Interpretation: Human Rights – Başak Çali


22. The Validity and Invalidity of Treaties – Jan Klabbers

23. Reacting against Treaty Breaches – Bruno Simma and Christian J Tams

24. Exceptional Circumstances and Treaty Commitments – Malgosia Fitzmaurice

25. Terminating Treaties – Laurence R Helfer


Initial Decisions on Treaty-Making

  • Distinguishing Political Commitments from Treaties
  • Object and Purpose
  • Participation Conditions for States
  • Participation Conditions for Non-State Actors
  • NGO Involvement

Conditions on Joining a Treaty

  • Consent to be Bound
  • Reservations
  • Declarations and Notifications

Constituting the Treaty and its Dissemination

  • Languages
  • Annexes
  • Entry into Force
  • The Depositary

Applying the Treaty

  • Provisional Application
  • Territorial and Extraterritorial Application
  • Federal States
  • Relationships to Other Treaties
  • Derogations
  • Dispute Settlement


  • Standard Amendment Procedures
  • Simplified Amendment Procedures

The End of Treaty Relations

  • Withdrawal or Denunciation
  • Suspension
  • Duration and Termination


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Peggy McGuinness


Congrats and well done!


[…] a quick follow-up to my book announcement last week.  With OUP’s kind permission, I’ve posted the Introduction to the Oxford […]