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In international law this term refers to the rules governing the signing of treaties: the order in which the contracting parties are mentioned in the text, the placement of the signatures and the seals, and so on. For instance, in a bilateral treaty where the signatures of the representatives of the states are placed along a horizontal or vertical line, the signature of the representative of the state that keeps the copy is placed on the left or on top (that is, in the first place), while on the other copy the signatures are placed in reverse order. In multilateral treaties the signatures of the representatives are usually placed in a vertical line in the alphabetical order of the English names of the states. In the socialist states the signatures are placed in the order of the Russian alphabet.