Essay On Textual Interpretation

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Treaty interpretation, generally speaking, is the the process of determining or arriving at the meaning of a text when parties to a dispute differ or disagree on the meaning of the text. Lord McNair says that interpretation is a secondary process which comes into play when it is impossible to make sense of the plain terms of the treaty or when they are susceptible to different meanings. However, as pointed out by Sir Humphrey Waldock, the last Special Rapporteur to the International Law Commission for its work on codification of Law of Treaties, process of interpretation is not merely mechanical and involves giving a meaning to a text. There are various ways through which one can interpret a treaty. They are textual interpretation (which relies on the text of the treaty), subjective interpretation (which requires one to ascertain the intention of the parties), teleological interpretation (which concentrates on the object and purpose of the treaty), and contextual interpretation (which relies on the wider context). Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 (VCLT) is a fascinating amalgamation of all these and more.…show more content…
This is also known as the principle of Autonomous Interpretation. According to it, all means given in the article are to be considered in one and the same, single process of application and no one particular means dominates the other. According to Waldock, “the process of interpretation is essentially a simultaneous one, though logic may dictate a certain order of thought”. Anthony Aust has very explicitly provided that the “the singular noun emphasizes that the Article contains only one rule, that set out in Para 1. One must consider each of its elements. Although at first sight paragraphs 1,2 and 3 might appear to create a hierarchy of legal norms, that is not so; the paras represent a logical progression, nothing

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