The term Treaty means a written agreement by which two or more states or International Organizations create or intend to create a relation between themselves operating within the sphere of International Law. Oppenheim classifies treaties into law making treaties which are concluded for the purpose of laying down general rules of conduct among a considerable number of States, and treaties concluded by any other purpose. Treaties classified according to subject-matter are treaties of alliance, treaties of guarantee, treaties of commerce, treaties neutralizing a State etc.

Kinds of Treaties:

           Treaties may be distinguished as unilateral and bilateral, accordingly as they bind on one party or both the parties. There are also multilateral treaties which bind more than two states as parties. Such treaties may be either political or non-political

1) Bilateral Treaties:

           There are the treaties in which participation and rights and obligations arising from the treaty is limited only to two parties. They are sometimes called bipartite treaties and sometimes refer as treaty contract. 

2) Plurilateral Treaties: 

          Those treaties where the participation is open to a restricted number of State are described as plurilateral treaties. The purpose of such treaties varies from treaty to treaty, e.g, it may be either to maintain peace and security within a specific region or to promote and develop the commerce among the participating members etc. Article 52 of the United Nations Charter provides for the national arrangements and are included under this category. Organization of Petroleum Exploring Countries (OPEC), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), League of Arab States, South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC)are some of the examples of Plurilateral Treaties.              



3) Multilateral Treaties:

            Multilateral Treaties are those which are open to participation for all the states without any restrictions.Some multilateral treaties set up an International organization for a specific purpose or a variety of purposes. United Nations Charter is an example of a multilateral treaty. These treaties sometimes described as law making treaties

Law-making Treaties e.g.  Pat of Paris, Covenant of the League of Nation and the Charter of the United Nations.


The most perfect classification is made by NcNair which is as follows.

 a) Treaties having the character of conveyances;

 b) Treaties having the character of contracts;

 c) Law making Treaties which may be sub-divided into :

        i) Treaties creating constitutional law, e.g, Status of Permanent Court of International Justice.
(Now the International Court of Justice)

       ii) Pure Law making Treaties, e.g several Labour Conventions negotiated by the International Labour Organization.

 d) Treaties akin to Charters of Incorporation, e.g. Treaties which established the Universal Postal Union,1874,


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