The Interpretation of International Agreements and World Public Order

Principles of Content and Procedure


The policy-oriented approach of the New Haven School is widely recognized as a major contribution to the legal and jurisprudential debate on interpretation. Eschewing mechanical textual methods, on the one hand, and anti-textual, solipsistic methods, on the other, the New Haven School has developed a comprehensive and systematic approach to the interpretation of human communication. Drawing upon psychology, legal experience, and communications theory, of which Lasswell was a founder, the authors have developed a theoretically cogent and practical method of interpretation. In the course of doing it, they survey the existing literature, showing its problems. In addition to the original text of The Interpretation of Agreements, this edition includes a new introduction, in which developments since the appearance of the book are examined and appraised, and three important papers which elaborate the theory developed here, including Professor McDougal's scathing critique of the last major international conference on the law of treaties.

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Introduction. The Application of International Agreements. 1. Delimitation of the Problem: the Processes of Agreement, Claim, and Decision as Context. 2. Clarification of the Goals and Strategies of Interpretation. 3. Trends in Conceptions of Goals and Strategies of Interpretation. 4. Trends in the Management of Principles of Context. 5. Trends in the Management of Principles of Procedure. 6. Past Inadequacies and Future Promise. Appendix 1: The Ethics of Applying Systems of Authority: the Balanced Opposites of a Legal System. Appendix 2: The International Law Commission's Draft Articles upon Interpretation: Textuality Redivivus. Appendix 3: Statement of Myres S. McDougal on the Vienna Conference on the Law of Treaties. Table of Cases. Name Index. Subject Index.