The “Cape Town Approach”: A New Method of Making International Law

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The use of multilateral treaties in the field of international commercial law has been in a state of steady decline. Traditional treaty law has been gradually replaced in recent years by softer methods of making international law, such as the use of restatements and model laws. Some scholars even claim that treaty law is dead or dying. This Article explains how the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (which entered into force on March 1, 2006) provides an innovative approach to the creation of treaties that promises to revive the status of treaties in international law. The “Cape Town approach” to treaty formation is characterized by a novel use of protocols that brings new flexibility to the treaty structure. This Article examines the Cape Town Convention’s use of protocols and explores the potential of the “Cape Town approach” as a new tool for making international law.