University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
 StudentLink New   Concentration/Area of Focus Registration New     Attendance System New

Fall 2020

Course Description
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is one of the most important treaties in the field of international law. It provides the tools for the interpretation of treaty provisions and compliance with obligations under international law. One can only apply and understand conventions with the proper use of treaty interpretation. Professor Paulsson has taught and published on the topic of treaty interpretation with respect to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and has lectured in Latin America on issues of State Responsibility and international law as a useful tool for States. She also travels the world to engage with judges on the topic. She is currently involved in the study of the investor-State reforms underway with UNCITRAL WG-III and beyond through new model BITs and has written and lectured on the topic along with global stakeholder engagement though commercial diplomacy. The course will address the key provisions of the Vienna Scheme as far as they are relevant for current developments. Articles 31-33 of the VCLT will form the basis of class discussions and practical exercises on treaty interpretation. This will enable students to grasp the complexities of treaty interpretation by judges and tribunals. During the course, treaties such as the New York Convention and BITs are analysed as international instruments operating in the national and international space. The course will also address the role of the VCLT with respect to the treaty reforms and the various ideas raised about multilateral instruments, UNCITRAL Recommendations, Opt-in Conventions and how to address Sunset clauses and designing a system parallel to or as replacement of the current ISDS system.

The course will give the students the opportunity to appreciate the importance of international agreements concluded between States and their choice to be bound by such instruments. Students will receive the tools to apply an international convention in the national space, even if that convention becomes part of national law through implementation. One cannot apply a treaty without the realization that that treaty travels from an international order to national regimes where it is to be applied by national courts. The students will also learn how to follow the current ISDS reforms debate, to understand the important legal analysis of those reforms and how to answer relevant question under the VCLT.

Short Course Attendance Policy Due to the small number of meetings, attendance to all meetings/classes for short courses is mandatory. Students who miss more than one class session (80 minute) of a 1-credit short course are subject to administrative withdrawal and will have a W for the course on their transcripts.

Course Schedule
Offering Dates: 09-21-2020 - 09-25-2020  

Dates Day Time Room
09-21-2020 - 09-24-2020   MTWR  12:10 PM-1:40 PM DL
09-25-2020 - 09-25-2020   F  12:10 PM-5:40 PM DL

Course Frequency
Occasional course offering

Course Information

Credits: 1
Pass/Fail Option: No
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation:
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes:
Short Course
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Business & Taxation - Related
International & Comparative Law - Basic
Bar Subject(s): None
Environmental Law (Area of Focus)   More information
Environmental Law (Concentration)   More information
Litigation & Dispute Resolution (Concentration)   More information
Social Justice & Public Interest (Area of Focus)   More information
Social Justice & Public Interest (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
  • Textbook Name: The 1958 New York Convention in Action
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Required
    Author: Marike Paulsson
    Publisher: Kluwer Arbitration International
    ISBN: 9789041152268
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: Session 1 Monday, September 21, 2020 12:10-13:40 PM Subjects: Introduction to the Course, materials and expectations Introduction to treaty interpretation and drafting & implementation Topics Interpretation of Treaties Monism and Dualism Artt. 31-33 VCLT Snail Figure Reading: Vienna Convention, Articles 31-33 Text of the New York Convention US Constitution Supremacy Clause Excerpts NYC Drafting History UNCITRAL Recommendations

    Course materials posted on course blackboard page.

    Additional Information:
    For additional questions, please contact Alexandria Sellers at

    LAW501Syllabus Fall 2020.pdf
    Fall 2020 Important Syllabus Addendum (002).pdf