Difference Between Treaty and Agreement

Treaty vs Agreement

The words Treaty and Agreement are often used synonymously, but in realty, is there a difference between treaty and agreement? In a casual sense, they might often be confused for meaning one and the same thing; but did you know that the word treaty can be said to derive from the word Agreement? Treaties are pacts between states, formal agreements, and its origins date back for many centuries. To truly understand the narrow yet distinct difference between the two terms requires a brief explanation about these two words.

What is a Treaty?

A treaty is generally referred to as a document embodying formal contracts between States relating to matters such as peace or the termination of the war , establishment of alliances, trade, acquisition of territory or settlement of disputes. Formally, it is defined as an international agreement, in writing, between two states or a number of states. Treaties can be either bilateral, that is between two states or multilateral, that is between many states. They are binding in international law and are similar to agreements made on a national level such as contracts or conveyances. Some treaties create law only for States that are parties to that particular treaty; some codify pre-existing customary international law and some put forward rules that eventually develop into customary international law, binding upon all States.

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) defines in detail the rules relating to inter-state treaties and by itself constitutes the basic framework for the nature and characteristics of treaties. Treaties are normally concluded by the process of ratification. The formulation of a treaty and by whom it is actually signed will depend upon the intention and agreement of the States concerned.

States transact large amounts of work utilizing the mechanism of a treaty. Where the parties to an agreement do not intend to create legal relations or binding obligations or rights under international law, the agreement will not be a treaty.

What is an Agreement?

An agreement is a mutual understanding between two or more persons. Under law, an agreement can also refer to a covenant, a contract that is legally binding on parties. The dictionary definition of agreement refers to a negotiated and usually legally enforceable understanding between two or more legally competent parties. Although a legally binding contract is most often the result of an agreement between two or more parties, an agreement generally lists the respective rights, duties and obligations of a negotiated arrangement. Therefore, it can be understood further as a legally binding arrangement between parties as to a particular course of action.

Agreements are binding only if the parties intended to create legal relations. An agreement between parties also denotes a meeting of the minds, a concordance of the opinion and determination of parties, parties that have united to express a mutual and common purpose. The writing or instrument of such a negotiated settlement is evidence of an agreement. Agreements take various forms and transcend national borders. There are different types of agreements including conditional agreements, contracts, deeds, trade agreements, express agreements wherein the terms and stipulations are specifically declared and asserted by the parties at the time of making the agreement, and treaties.

Difference Between Treaty and Agreement

What is the difference between Treaty sand Agreement?

• An agreement refers to any form of arrangement, negotiated settlement or concord between two or more parties. It is a legally enforceable understanding between two or more legally competent parties.

• A Treaty is a particular type of agreement.

• Treaties are agreements created between States or international organizations. They are a more direct and formal method of international law creation.

• Agreements can be created between two people, two or more corporations, organizations and other entities with legal personality.

• A Treaty is basically an agreement between parties on the international scene.

• Agreements can take various forms and include trade agreements, agreements to transfer property, sale agreements, contracts and much more.