New WTI PhD course: Treaty Interpretation

A new PhD course has been added to the WTI’s course offerings for this year.

The week-long course will be held in early December 2017, and the topic is treaty interpretation.

It will be taught by Isabelle Van Damme (of Van Bael & Bellis, Belgium) and Graham Cook (Counsellor, Legal Affairs Division, WTO Secretariat).

For more details, see the attached flyer.




Winter course dates: 4–8 December (4 ECTS)


I. The historical development of rules of treaty interpretation
a. Origins of the rules of treaty interpretation
b. The codification of rules of treaty interpretation in the VCLT
c. The limits of the codified rules of treaty interpretation

II. The rules of treaty interpretation
a. Textual analysis and the general rule of treaty interpretation
b. Treaties evolving over time: subsequent agreements/subsequent practice/evolutionary interpretation
c. Use of other relevant rules of international law and harmonious interpretation
d. Negotiating history
e. Principle of effectiveness
f. In dubio mitius

III. The function of treaty interpretation
a. Quality and character of judicial reasoning and justification
b. Precedent
c. Legitimacy
d. Transparency

IV. The context of treaty interpretation
a. Historical context
b. Institutional context
c. Political context

V. The future challenges of treaty interpretation