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State Succession and Commercial Obligations

42 Pages Posted: 1 May 2008 Last revised: 28 Aug 2008

Tai-Heng Cheng

New York Law School

Date Written: 2006


State Succession and Commercial Obligations sets out to answer once and for all the age-old question: Do commercial obligations survive state succession? Tai-Heng Cheng accomplishes this goal via careful analyses of efforts by the United Nations to codify the law of state succession, as well as of recent state successions involving East Timor, Hong Kong, Macau, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. The insightful text identifies a common thread running through these seemingly disparate events. Because of globalization and our interdependence, transnational decision-makers have collectively shaped international law to protect the international infrastructure from being disrupted by state succession and to protect entities from being debilitated by post-succession obligations.

State Succession and Commercial Obligations makes another major breakthrough by showing that the policy considerations and decision-making processes are similar in both state and government successions. Unlike prior theories that were bound by technical distinctions between state and government succession, this book¿s approach helps decision-makers bring order to both state and government successions that continue to be problematic today, such as the "regime changes" in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

State Succession and Commercial Obligations is the only major treatise in fifty years to appraise the global development of the law of state succession and commercial obligations. This treatise is indispensable to legal scholars seeking to understand contemporary international law, judges and arbitrators adjudicating succession disputes, and transactional and trial lawyers representing financial institutions, corporations and states when succession is imminent or has occurred. Because this book distills complex legal concepts into elegant ideas, it is also fascinating reading for a general audience that has an interest in global affairs and the transformative successions since the end of the Cold War.

Keywords: International arbitration, international law, international investments, development

Suggested Citation

Cheng, Tai-Heng, State Succession and Commercial Obligations (2006). Available at SSRN: or

Tai-Heng Cheng (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States

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