The Principles of Contemporaneous and Evolutionary Interpretation

Book Chapter, in Joseph Klingler, Yuri Parkhomenko & Constantinos Salonidis (eds.), Between the Lines of the Vienna Convention?: Canons of Construction and Other Principles of Interpretation in Public International Law, pp. 387-422 (2019)

56 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2019

Date Written: January 11, 2019

Abstract

The principle of contemporaneous interpretation provides that the terms of a treaty shall be interpreted as they were understood at the time of the conclusion of the treaty. The principle of evolutionary interpretation, on the other hand, provides that the terms of a treaty shall be interpreted as they are understood at the time of the interpretation of the treaty. In certain circumstances, the application of these two principles can lead to very different interpretations of the same term in a treaty. The primary question of this chapter is thus as follows: when should one apply the principle of contemporaneous interpretation, and when should one apply the principle of evolutionary interpretation?

Keywords: international law, treaty, interpretation, principle, contemporaneous, evolutionary

Suggested Citation

Tzeng, Peter, The Principles of Contemporaneous and Evolutionary Interpretation (January 11, 2019). Book Chapter, in Joseph Klingler, Yuri Parkhomenko & Constantinos Salonidis (eds.), Between the Lines of the Vienna Convention?: Canons of Construction and Other Principles of Interpretation in Public International Law, pp. 387-422 (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3314107

Peter Tzeng (Contact Author)

Foley Hoag LLP ( email )

United States

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