Skip to main content

International law expert Reisman to speak at Vanderbilt University Law School

Jan. 21, 2002, 2:32 PM

January 21, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — W. Michael Reisman Myres S. McDougal Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, will speak about ‘Unratified Treaties and Other Unperfected Acts in International Law’ at Vanderbilt University Law School on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

His speech, the second in the Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III Lecture series, begins at 4:10 p.m. in the Renaissance Room. The lecture is free and open to the public and is followed by a reception with Reisman.

Endowed by Johnson, a 1974 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, the lecture series features distinguished speakers who address the law and its relation to public policy.

Reisman’s speech will address what he sees as a growing trend in international law—that of legal acts, such as treaties, deliberately left incomplete being treated as if they’d been ratified.

“With increasing frequency, the International Court of Justice has been treating certain legal acts which the parties to them had begun to conclude but had manifestly and intentionally not completed as if they had nonetheless created binding legal obligations,” Reisman said. “This apparently progressive trend, which depreciates legal ritual by elevating substance over form, fails to take account of certain important constitutive and political functions of a class of international unperfected legal acts and may impose heavy costs on the political system which international law serves.”

Reisman has been on the faculty of the Yale Law School since 1965. He has served as arbitrator and counsel in many international cases and was vice president and then president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States and vice president and honorary vice president of the American Society of International Law.

He is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a former member of its executive council. He is chairman of the Arbitration Tribunal of the Bank for International Settlements, a member of the Advisory Committee on International Law of the Department of State, co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of International Law, vice chairman of the Policy Sciences Center, Inc., a member of the board of The Foreign Policy Association, a member of the Institute of World Business Law of the International Chamber of Commerce and has been elected to the Institut de Droit International.

Contact: Susanne Loftis, (615) 322-NEWS