Volume 41, Special Edition on Sovereign Debt

The present special issue is a cooperation of the Yale Journal of International Law and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The special issue assembles articles that propose, and critically reflect on, the incremental approach to sovereign debt restructuring which has gained currency in the United Nations. As many experts have pointed out, sovereign debt restructuring are currently haunted by the problem of “too little, too late.” However, the political momentum necessary to adopt an international treaty seems to be lacking. Contractual solutions (e.g. collective action clauses) have gaping loopholes, despite some practical success. The incremental approach proposes a new progressive agenda. It aims at bringing sovereign debt restructuring practice gradually in line with a set of generally accepted international legal principles, including the principles of sovereign debt sustainability, good faith, legitimacy, impartiality, and human rights. The special issue, curated by Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky (UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights) and Matthias Goldmann (Goethe University Frankfurt and Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law), includes contributions by Daniel Bradlow, Anna Gelpern, Jan Klabbers, Odette Lienau, Michael Riegner, and the guest editors.

The full version of the Special Edition can be found here.



Written by Stephanie Blackenburg & Richard Kozul Wright


Guest Editors’ Foreword

Written by Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky & Matthias Goldmann


An Incremental Approach to Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Sovereign Debt

Written by Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky & Matthias Goldmann


Sovereign Debt: Now What?

Written by Anna Gelpern


Legitimacy and Impartiality as Basic Principles for Sovereign Debt Restructuring

Written by Odette Lienau


Putting Your Faith in Good Faith: A Principled Strategy for Smoother Debt Workouts

Written by Matthias Goldmann


Legal Frameworks and General Principles for Indicators in Sovereign Debt Restructuring

Written by Michael Riegner


Economic Inequality, Debt Crises and Human Rights

Written by Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky


Can Parallel Lines Ever Meet? The Strange Case of the International Standards on Sovereign Debt and Business and Human Rights

Written by Daniel D. Bradlow


On Functions and Finance: Sovereign Debt Workouts and Equality in International Organizations Law

Written by Jan Klabbers