Lunch seminar with Kathleen Claussen

Boilerplate Treaties & Their Interpretation by Courts & Tribunals


This early stage paper is part of a larger project on delegation by states to dispute management bodies, particularly international economic institutions, in which I address three perceived problems. 
Taking these perceived problems together, the conclusion for some policymakers has been that international economic law institutions have been accorded too much deference by states and have exceeded the authority delegated to them. 
My larger project takes a deep look at the legitimacy crisis facing dispute management mechanisms as characterized by this outlook and these three problems. 

This paper focuses on just one of the three problems I identify: the lack of clear mandate or interpretive guidance in treaties.  In prior work, I have explained and examined the difficulties for states and adjudicators facing repetitive or standardized language in trade agreements. 
This work confronts such boilerplate language more broadly.  This paper asks four questions.  First, what do we mean by “boilerplate” language in treaties?  Second, where is boilerplate language found?  Third, how has boilerplate language come about?  And, fourth, what are the legal issues facing dispute management institutions in interpreting boilerplate language?

All interested are welcome to attend. Registration is not necessary.