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Chapter Summary

An error is a mistaken impression of facts, which invalidates consensus on a treaty. Much on error has entered international law via general principles of international law from private domestic law where error occupies a comparatively important position. Article 48 does not raise a presumption against errors. The State invoking the factual error bears the burden of proving that the conditions have been met. Errors may arise in the fast track procedures of bilateral treaties entering into force following conclusion upon signature. Article 48 provides that a State may invoke the error in a treaty as invalidating its consent to be bound by the treaty. Article 48 provides for relative (rather than absolute) nullity. The erring State is offered different possibilities to affirm the treaty. The effectiveness of the provision will depend mainly on the manner in which the exceptions in paragraph 2 are interpreted.

Keywords: Article 48; error; international law; State; treaty



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