Travaux préparatoires

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The travaux préparatoires (French: "preparatory works", in the plural) are the official record of a negotiation. Sometimes published, the "travaux" are often useful in clarifying the intentions of a treaty or other instrument, as is reflected in Article 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT).

To interpret treaties, the VCLT places this form of interpretation as secondary to the ordinary meaning (see Articles 31 and 32).

An example of such interpretation was provided by Lord Diplock in the case Fothergill v Monarch Airlines Ltd [1981][1]

The travaux préparatoires are often available to the public on websites created for a specific treaty (such as the Rome Statute) or on the United Nations website.

The most well-known travaux are associated with the drafting of the Genocide Convention.[2]


  1. ^ HL. AC 251 (1981). "Law report". 
  2. ^ "The Genocide Convention: The Travaux Préparatoires (2 vols) | Brill". Retrieved 2016-11-04.