Over the past several decades the international community has increasingly come to rely on periodic multilateral conferences or meetings1 as a means for reviewing implementation of a wide variety of legal instruments, including those addressing nuclear non‐proliferation,
safety, waste management, physical protection and security. Also, the parties to some instruments that do not explicitly mandate review meetings have decided to conduct de facto review meetings to enhance implementation. Although the structure and procedures
of these meetings differ in some particulars, they reflect a number of common objectives, organisational arrangements and procedures. This paper seeks to assess the major issues arising from reliance on the review conference2 mechanism as a measure for enhancing the effectiveness
of multilateral legal instruments, particularly those in the nuclear field. In view of the perceived failure of the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non‐Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the need to avoid a similar result at the upcoming 2010
Review Conference, it is hoped that this analysis will provide a timely ‐ and possibly even useful ‐ "review" of the review conference mechanism.