Maritime Conventions use legal-technical terms to describe the different phases of their making process based on the Vienna Convention Law of Treaties (1969). We all have heard terms like adoption or entry into force but have we ever read their definitions?
Let me share among the Queseas community some of the most commonly used legal-technical terms in shipping.
- Treaties: under international law, a treaty is any legally binding agreement between States like a Convention, a Protocol, etc.
- Treaty-making process: involves three stages: negotiation, acceptance, and implementation.
- Guidelines: are instructions between bodies of an international organization.
- Memorandum of understanding (MoU ): is an international mechanism of a less formal that has political or moral force, but it is not legally binding.
- Protocol : A summary of a document or agreement.
- Resolution: reflects a formal opinion or decision adopted by an official body.
- Adoption: is the formal act establishing the form and content of a proposed treaty text. The text adoption takes place through the expression of the consent of the participating States in the treaty-making process. However, following art.9 of the Vienna Convention, adoption does not mean the state consent to be bound by a treaty.
- Acceptance or approval describes the consent of a state to be bound by a treaty.
- Ratification: expresses an international act whereby a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties intend to show their consent by such an act.
- Entry into force: for multilateral treaties, a fixed number of states need to express their consent for entry into force.
- Accession: expresses the act whereby a state accepts to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states.
- Amendment: for the conventions to remain updated, amendments to treaties may arise, and “tacit acceptance” of amendments by States is an option.
- Tacit acceptance: provides that an amendment shall enter into force at a particular time unless, before that date, objections to the amendments occur from a specified number of Parties.