Andreas Zimmermann, Nora Jauer
Legal shades of grey? Indirect legal effects of 'Memoranda of Understanding'
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As part of the current process of de-formalization in international law, States increasingly chose informal, non-legally binding agreements or 'Memoranda of Understanding' ('MOUs') to organize their international affairs. The increasing conclusion of such legally non-binding instruments in addition to their flexibility, however, also leads to uncertainties in international relations. Against this background, this article deals with possible indirect legal consequences produced by MOUs. It discusses the different legal mechanisms and avenues that may give rise to such secondary legal effects of MOUs through a process of interaction with, and interpretation in line with, other (formal) sources of international law. The article further considers various strategies how to avoid such eventual possible unintended or unexpected indirect legal effects of MOUs when drafting such instruments and when dealing with them subsequent to their respective 'adoption'.