Two Perspectives on the Rules of Treaty Interpretation: A Review of Richard Gardiner, Treaty Interpretation
6 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2010 Last revised: 5 Apr 2011
Date Written: December 6, 2010
Richard Gardiner’s Treaty Interpretation is a tremendous book, in terms of both substance and size. Yet in important ways the work is narrower than it might appear. Indeed its enormous merit is in large part due to the author’s narrow, disciplined approach – not in spite of it. As Gardiner readily acknowledges, the book is narrow in two critical ways: first, it is more or less limited to analyzing the rules of treaty interpretation enshrined in articles 31-33 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT); and second, while the book is certainly a valuable resource for students and academics, its real focus is practitioners – specifically lawyers advocating before courts and tribunals, domestic or international. For that audience, the book represents a marvelous snap-shot of the rules of, and lacunae or unresolved issues in, treaty interpretation as things stand today. Yet, as I suspect the author would agree, in light of his approach and perspective, the book should not be taken as a conclusive statement of either "what the legal rules of treaty interpretation are" within precise, decided contours, or "how those rules must be applied" to yield a mechanically "correct" result...
Keywords: Treaty Interpretation
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