You are here:

Law of treaties


The Law of treaties deals with both theoretical and practical issues of the law of treaties. Module A deals with fundamental issues of the law of treaties, such as the place of treaties among other sources of international law; conclusion of treaties; and the consent to be bound. Module B deals with the legal issues surrounding the entry into force of a treaty, as well as the scope of treaty obligations, such as reservations to treaties which are one of the core issues of the law of treaties. Module C deals with the legal aspects of the working of treaties. It analyses treaty issues relating to interpretation, conflict, revision, amendment, modification and succession. Module D deals with issues relating to the suspension or termination of treaties, such as material breach of a treaty. Overall the course will provide you with a good knowledge of the law of treaties, the practice of States relating to the law of treaties and the relevant jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals.

Module A: Introduction to the law of treaties


  • Introduction to the law of treaties
  • Sources of international law with a particular focus on treaties
  • Concept of a treaty in international law
  • Treaty-making process
  • Depositaries, registration and publication of treaties
  • Consent to be bound by a treaty

Module B: Entry into force and the scope of treaty obligations


  • Entry into force and obligations prior to entry into force
  • Reservations to treaties
  • Application of treaties (pacta sunt servanda; observance of treaties and internal law; effect on third states)

Module C: Legal aspects of the working of treaties


  • Interpretation of treaties
  • Conflict of treaties
  • Revision, amendment and modification of treaties
  • Succession to treaty obligations

Module D: Legal aspects of invalidity, termination and suspension of treaty obligations


  • Termination and suspension of treaties
  • Invalidity of treaties
  • Procedural aspects of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969
  • Miscellaneous provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt Module A first. 

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Human Rights Law
  • International Criminal Justice
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • International Justice
  • Law and Development
  • Public International Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Study Material

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice

Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice

Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice holds a chair of public international law at the Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). She specialises in international environmental law; the law of treaties; and indigenous peoples. She publishes widely on these subjects.

She has delivered a lecture on the International Protection of the Environment at the The Hague Academy of International Law. Professor Fitzmaurice was invited as a Visiting Professor to and lectured at various universities, such Berkeley Law School; University of Kobe; Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I). During 2013-2015, she was involved (with Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas) in a multi stakeholder project funded by the EU Commission on environmental crime. Professor Fitzmaurice teaches undergraduate and LLM modules in international environmental law and the law of treaties. She also supervises PhD students.