The UK is the legal depositary for 36 multilateral treaties, on a wide range of subjects (see links below).
As part of this function, Treaty Section is responsible for co-ordinating the UK's response to formal instruments of ratification or accession to these treaties which are deposited with the FCO by foreign governments.
In most cases, treaties take effect for a new State Party either on the day an instrument is deposited with the FCO, or after a pre-determined period of time has elapsed. The exact date the instrument is received within the FCO is therefore crucial, as it determines exactly when a State is bound by international law to exercise the rights and obligations that the treaty concerned provides.
Those Governments wishing to deposit an instrument of ratification or accession with the FCO by post should ensure that it is sent to the following address, and clearly marked:
Room W.LG 167
King Charles Street
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Requests for Heads of Mission (in London) to deposit instruments of ratification or accession with the FCO personally should be addressed to the Head of Treaty Section at the above address.
It should be noted that while Treaty Section can provide publication references to treaties and links to texts of treaties for which the UK is depositary, it is unable to supply treaty texts. Texts can be purchased from The Stationery Office [opens a new website] , or consulted in Library Reference collections. Photocopies of out-of-print items can be purchased from the British Library [opens a new website].
Full texts and status lists of the 36 international agreements can also be found through the following links [all links open a new website]:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office London is not responsible for the contents or reliability of the linked websites, and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Listing shall not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and we have no control over availability of the linked pages.
Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis (London, 8 August 1945)
Agreement establishing an International Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank (London, 26 June 1985)
Agreement on CAB International (London, 8 July 1986)
Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects launched into Outer Space (London, Moscow and Washington, 22 April 1968)
Agreement terminating the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Financial Agreement, 1973 (London, 30 March 1983)
Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (London, 16 November 1945)
Convention for the Regulation of Meshes of Fishing Nets and the Size Limits of Fish (London, 5 April 1946)
Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (London, 1 June 1972)
Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (Montreal, 23 September 1971)
Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Act of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (Montreal, 24 February 1988)
Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (The Hague, 16 December 1970)
Convention on Future Multilateral Co-operation in North-East Atlantic Fisheries (London, 18 November 1980)
Convention on International Liability for Damage caused by Space Objects (London, Moscow and Washington, 29 March 1972)
Convention on the Conduct of Fishing Operations in the North Atlantic (London, 1 June 1967)
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter (London, Moscow, Mexico City and Washington, 29 December 1972)
Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (London, Moscow and Washington, 10 March 1972)
Framework Agreement between France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom concerning Measures to Facilitate the Restructuring and Operation of the European Defence Industry (Farnborough, 27 July 2000)
Status list for Amendment to Article 16 (Brussels, 13 March 2008)
North-East Atlantic Fisheries Convention (London, 24 January 1959)
Status list [pdf]
International Convention relative to the Preservation of Fauna and Flora in their Natural State (London, 8 November 1933)
Treaty banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (Moscow, 5 August 1963)
Treaty on Principles governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (London, Moscow and Washington, 27 January 1967)
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (London, Moscow and Washington, 1 July 1968)
Agreement (with France) Concerning the European Air Group, with Amending Protocol (PDF, 957K) (London, 6 July 1998, Amending Protocol – London, 16 June 1999)
The following do not yet have full texts available on the website:
Agreement on German External Debts
Place and Date of Signature or Acceptance: London, 27 February 1953
Status List [PDF, 9K]
International Agreement regarding the Maintenance of Certain Lights in the Red Sea
Place and Date of Signature or Acceptance: London, 20 February 1962
Status List [PDF, 10K]
International Convention for Permanent Control of Outbreak Areas of the Red Locust
Place and Date of Signature or Acceptance: London, 22 February 1949
Status List [PDF, 6K]
Protocol Modifying the International Convention of 22 February 1949 for the Permanent Control of Outbreak Areas of the Red Locust
Place and Date of Signature or Acceptance: London, 29 October 1953
Status List [PDF, 5K]