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Law of treaties

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

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