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Treaty Law and Practice

Project Director (for BIICL): Jill Barrett

Project Director (for CIL): Robert Beckman

The British Institute of International & Comparative Law (BIICL) and the Centre for International Law Singapore (CIL) conducted a joint project to carry out training and research on treaty law and practice. An International Workshop on Treaty Law and Practice for government and secretariat officials from the Southeast Asian region took place in Singapore in January 2012. Following the workshop the two institutes published a report which provides a set of recommendations designed to improve treaty practices in the region; and a compilation of constitutional and legislative provisions relevant to treaty practice in selected jurisdictions around the world.

The project was designed by Jill Barrett drawing on her experience gained in her former role as Legal Councillor at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), with responsibility for the supervision of the FCO Treaty Section, in conjunction with Professor Beckman's expertise in treaty practice in the Asian region. CIL and BIICL also engaged external treaty procedure experts to provide advice and contribute to the training programmes, in particular Paul Barnett, Former Head of FCO Treaty Section, Gerard Limburg, Former Director of Treaties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Elise Cornu, Head of the Treaty Office and Legal Adviser, Council of Europe, by kind permission of the Council of Europe.

Professor Robert Beckman was supported in this project by a team of Research Fellows and Associates. BIICL was assisted by its team of public international law research interns, notably Sam Bright, Rafael Plaza, Aletta van der Merwe and Sotiris Lekkas.

Two outputs of this project may be viewed here:

1. Report of International Workshop on Treaty Law and Practice

The first of its kind, the Singapore Workshop focused on the operational aspects of treaty practice which comprise the daily work inside treaty offices all over the world, and on which very little published information is available. Good treaty practice is vital to the clarity of states' international legal relations and to their ability to comply with international law. The Workshop provided a rare opportunity for treaty officers to exchange views and experiences with their counterparts from other countries in the Southeast Asian region as well as international experts in the field.

The Workshop report provides a set of recommendations designed to improve treaty practices in the region; a summary of the proceedings at the Workshop and an overview of the project on best treaty practice of which the Workshop comprised a key element.

View the Executive Summary or the full report (80 pages).

2. Compilation of Constitutional and Legislative Provisions on Treaty Practice of Selected States and International Organisations

An Online Resource

This Compilation covers all ASEAN member States and ASEAN itself, as well as selected other States and international organisations. It is available here and on the CIL website. These materials, originally put together for participants at the Singapore Workshop as reference material, may continue to be developed as an online resource, which we hope will provide a useful research tool for other users and scholars of treaty practice worldwide.

Related Project

Other relevant materials on treaty law and practice from the CIL Research Project on International Maritime Crimes are available here.