This article looks at the methods for interpreting Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1540, which deal with ‘international terrorism’ and ‘nuclear proliferation’, respectively. Contrary to ‘traditional’ resolutions, these documents impose general and abstract obligations that are not limited in space or time on UN Member States. For this reason, the article argues that they are legislative in character. Consequently, it explores the emergence of a legal regime that sets novel criteria for the imposition of binding international obligations on UN Member States by the Security Council. Based on these findings, it drafts principles for the application and interpretation of these resolutions.