Law of the Sea
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Montego Bay, 10 December 1982), UNCLOS, is intended to govern the use of oceans for fishing, shipping, exploration, navigating and mining. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the most comprehensive treaty in public international law and covers a range of Law of the Sea topics, such as delimitation of maritime boundaries, maritime zones, marine environment protection, marine scientific research, piracy and many more. Part XI UNCLOS on the legal regime on deep seabed mining used to be a main obstacle for ratification by Western states and blocked the entry into force of the UNCLOS as a whole. After more specific regulations in the 1994 Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS about the commercial exploitation of the deep seabed, more countries were willing to ratify and UNCLOS entered into force in 1994. Although the United States now recognizes the UNCLOS as a codification of customary international law, the US has not yet ratified it.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on the Law of the Sea. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's classification index code 96. Law of the Sea and subject headings (keywords) Law of the Sea and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
In the South China Sea Arbitration Award (12 July 2016), an arbitral tribunal at The Hague found that China’s claim to historic rights to resources was incompatible with the detailed allocation of rights and maritime zones in the Convention. The Tribunal considered that prior to the Convention, the waters of the South China Sea beyond the territorial sea were legally part of the high seas, in which vessels from any State could freely navigate and fish. Accordingly, the Tribunal concluded that, as between the Philippines and China, there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided for by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.
- Dupuy, R.-J. and D.A. Vignes, Handbook on the New Law of the Sea, Dordrecht, Nijhoff, 1991.
- Fietta, S. and Cleverly, R., Practitioner's Guide to Maritime Boundary Delimitation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Kwiatkowska, B., Decisions of the World Court relevant to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Reference Guide, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2010.
- Lowe, V. and S. Talmon, (eds.), The Legal Order of the Oceans: Basic Documents on the Law of the Sea, Oxford, Hart, 2009.
- Nordquist, M.H. (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982: A Commentary, Dordrecht, Nijhoff, 1985-2011.
- Oda, S. Fifty Years of the Law of the Sea: With a Special Section on the International Court of Justice: Selected Writings of Shigeru Oda, Judge of the International Court of Justice, Dordrecht, Nijhoff, 1993.
- Patel, B.N., Law of the Sea: International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Jurisprudence: Case Commentary, Case-Law, Digest and Reference Guide (1994-2014), Lucknow, Eastern Book Company, 2015.
- Anderson, D., Modern Law of the Sea: Selected Essays, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1983.
- Caminos, H. and Cogliati-Bantz, V.P., The Legal Regime of Straits: Contemporary Challenges and Solutions, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Castillo, L. del (ed.), Law of the sea, from Grotius to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea: Liber Amicorum Judge Hugo Caminos, Leiden, Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2015.
- García García-Revillo, M., The Contentious and Advisory Jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Leiden, Brill, 2015.
- Harrison, J., Making the Law of the Sea: A Study in the Development of International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011.
- Kolodkin, A.L., V.N. Gutsuliak and I.V. Bobrova, The World Ocean: International Legal Regime, The Hague, Eleven International Publishing, 2010.
- McDorman, T.L. (et al.), International Ocean Law: Materials and Commentaries, Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press, 2005.
- Morell, J.B., Law of the Sea: An Historical Analysis of the 1982 Treaty and its Rejection by the United States, Jefferson, NC, McFarland, 2013.
- Nordquist, N.H., United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982: A Commentary, Dordrecht, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1985.
- Oda, S., Fifty Years of the Law of the Sea: With a Special Section on the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 2003.
- Rothwell, D.R. (ed.), Law of the Sea (Collection of Articles), Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar Publications, 2013.
- Sohn, L.B. and J.E. Noyes, Cases and Materials on the Law of the Sea, Ardsley, NY, Transnational, 2004.
- Symmons, C.R., Historic Waters in the Law of the Sea: A Modern Re-Appraisal, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008.
- Vincent, P., Droit de la mer, Bruxelles, Larcier, 2008.
- Vitzthum, W. und G. Hafner, Handbuch des Seerechts, München, Beck, 2006.
- Zacharias, M., Marine Policy: An Introduction to Governance and International Law of the Oceans, London, Routledge, 2014.
- Bourrel, M., "Pollution du fait d'un navire dans une aire maritime protégée en haute mer: quel rôle pour le Tribunal international du droit de la mer?", Annuaire du droit de la mer, 17 (2013), pp.165-206.
- Jensen, Ø., "Maritime Boundary Delimitation Beyond 200 Nautical Miles: The International Judiciary and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf", Nordic Journal of International Law, 84 (2015), No. 4, pp. 580-604. (e-article)
- Linkevičius, J., "International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea: The Limits of Compulsory Jurisdiction", Baltic Yearbook of International Law, 11 (2012), pp. 153-172.
- Lowe, V. and A. Tzanakopoulos, "The Development of the Law of the Sea by the International Court of Justice", in C. J. Tams and J. Sloan (eds.), The Development of International Law by the International Court of Justice, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 177-193.
- Magnússon, B.M., "Is there a Temporal Relationship Between the Delineation and the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles?" International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 28 (2013), No. 2, pp. 465-483.
- Oral, N., "Implementing Part XII of the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention and the Role of International Courts", in N. Boschiero (et al.) (eds.), International Courts and the Development of International Law: Essays in Honour of Tullio Treves, The Hague, Asser Press, 2013, pp. 403-423.
- Plakokefalos, I., "Shared Responsibility Aspects of the Dispute Settlement Procedures in the Law of the Sea Convention", Journal of International Dispute Settlement, 4 (2013), No. 2, pp. 385-405.
- Paasivirta, E., "The European Union and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea", Fordham International Law Journal, 38 (2015), No. 4, pp. 1045-1071.
- Roach, J.A., "Today's Customary International Law of the Sea", Ocean Development and International Law, 45 (2014), No. 3, pp. 239-259.
- Ros, N., "El Derecho jurisprudencial de la delimitación marítima", Revista española de derecho internacional, 65 (2013), No. 2, pp. 71-115.
- Ruys, T. and Soete, A., "' Creeping 'Advisory Jurisdiction of International Courts and Tribunals?: The Case of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea", Leiden journal of international law, 29 (2016), No. 1, pp. 155-176.
- Song, Y.-h., "Survey of Declarations or Statements made by the Parties to the Law of the Sea Convention: 30 Years after Adoption", International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 28 (2013), No. 1, pp. 5-59.
- Tanaka, Y., "Obligations and Liability of Sponsoring States Concerning Activities in the Area: Reflections on the ITLOS Advisory Opinion of 1 February 2011", Netherlands International Law Review, 60 (2013), No. 2, pp. 205-230.
- Uykur, T., "Settlement of Maritime Delimitation Disputes within Complex Geographical Settings", ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, 20 (2014), No.2, pp. 357-371.
- Vidas, D., "Consolidation or Deviation?: On Trends and Challenges in the Settlement of Maritime Delimitation Disputes by International Courts and Tribunals", in N. Boschiero (et al.) (eds.), International Courts and the Development of International Law: Essays in Honour of Tullio Treves, The Hague, Asser Press, 2013, pp. 325-334.
- Brill's United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Commentary
- Fietta, S. and Cleverly, R., Practitioner's Guide to Maritime Boundary Delimitation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Lowe, V. and S. Talmon, The Legal Order of the Oceans: Basic Documents on Law of the Sea, Oxford, Hart, 2009.
- Sohn, L.B., Noyes, J.E., Franckx, E. and Gustafson, K. (eds.), Cases and Materials on the Law of the Sea, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2014. (e-book)
- Tofan, C. (ed.), The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Collection: Basic Documents, Oisterwijk, International Courts Association, 2011.
- The Law of the Sea: Official Texts of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 and of the Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982: with Index and Excerpts from the Final Act of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, New York, NY, United Nations, 1997.
- United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (Montego Bay, 10 December 1982)
- UNCLOS III and 1994 Implementation Agreement Part XI, UNCLOS
Periodicals, serial publications
- Annuaire de droit maritime et oceanique
- Cahiers de l'Association Internationale du Droit de la Mer = Papers of the International Association of the Law of the Sea
- Center for Oceans Law and Policy Publications
- Law of the Sea Bulletin
- New Directions in the Law of the Sea: Regional and National Development
- Ocean and Coastal Law Journal
- Ocean Development and International Law
- Ocean Yearbook
- Publications on Ocean Development
- Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders (ITLOS)
- Studies in International Law of the Sea and Maritime Law
- Yearbook (ITLOS)
- Jenisch, U. (et al.), Bibliography of German Publications on the International and Public Law of the Sea, 1982-2007, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2008.
- Papadakis, N., International Law of the Sea: A Bibliography, Alphen aan den Rĳn, Sĳthoff & Noordhoff, 1980.
- The Law of the Sea: A Select Bibliography, 2008, New York, NY, United Nations, 2008.
1. Case concerning the conservation and sustainable exploitation of swordfish stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean (Chile/European Union)
Keywords: Chile, European Community, Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Swordfish Stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, M/V Louisa, Law of the sea, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Case-law, E-books,
Nordquist, M.H., Moore, J.N. and Long, R. (eds.) Challenges of the Changing Arctic: Continental Shelf, Navigation and Fisheries, Leiden, Brill, 2016.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The law and policy for the Arctic are increasingly of international interest, largely due to the melting of the Arctic ice cap. Challenges of the Changing Arctic: Continental Shelf, Navigation, and Fisheries includes contributions from global specialists dealing with the geomorphologic context, maritime delimitation and specialized topics raised by promising oil and gas prospects, particularly in the extensive continental shelf presented by Russia to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Arctic shipping has entered a novel, untested phase with keen interest in the opening of ice free shipping lanes and proposed regulatory regimes. Fish in the North Atlantic are moving north disrupting historic fishing patterns as well as traditional fish stocks. Agreements on the allocation of shared fish stocks pose significant management challenges. Both littoral and non-littoral user nations are concerned with maritime security as well as search and rescue preparations given the anticipated increased use of the Arctic Ocean.
Fietta, S. and Cleverly, R., Practitioner's Guide to Maritime Boundary Delimitation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book provides a user-friendly and practical guide to the modern law of maritime boundary delimitation. The law of maritime boundaries has seen substantial evolution in recent decades. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the law in this field, and its development through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which set out the framework of the modern law in 1982. The Convention itself has since been substantially built upon and clarified by a series of judicial and arbitral decisions in boundary disputes between sovereign states, which themselves also built upon earlier case law. The book dissects each of the leading international judgments and awards since the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases in 1969, providing a full analysis of the issues and context in each case, explaining their fundamental importance to shaping the law.
Hassan, D., Kuokkanen, T. and Soininen, N. (eds.), Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning and International Law, London ; New York : Earthscan from Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is an integrated and comprehensive approach to ocean governance and is used to establish a rational use of marine space and reconcile conflicting interests of its users. MSP allows both a high level of environmental protection and a wide range of human activities and emphasizes coordinated networks of national, regional and global institutions. This book focuses on the framework of international law behind MSP and especially on the transboundary aspects of MSP. It first sets out a general framework for transboundary MSP and then moves on to compare and assess differences and similarities between different regions. Specific detailed case studies include the EU with the focus on the Baltic Sea and North Sea, the Bay of Bengal and Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The authors examine the national and regional significance of MSP from an integrated and sustainable ocean governance point of view. They also show how transboundary MSP can create opportunities and positive initiatives for cross-border cooperation and contribute to the effective protection of the regional marine environment.
Wu, S., Valencia, M. and Hong, N. (eds.), UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the South China Sea, Farnham, Ashgate, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Research on The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a valuable addition to understanding the political situation in the potentially volatile South China Sea region. This book covers topics such as baselines, historic title and rights, due regard and abuse of rights, peaceful use of the ocean, navigation regimes, marine scientific research, intelligence gathering, the UNCLOS dispute settlement system and regional common heritage. In search of varying viewpoints, the authors in this book come from multiple countries, including the Philippines, Australia, Ireland, Mainland China and Taiwan, the United States, and Indonesia, Singapore, UK and Germany. Ongoing events, such as the recent waves made by China in the East China Sea and increasing tensions between the South East Asian countries over the use of South China Sea, make this book especially pertinent.
Warner, R. and Kaye, S. (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Maritime Regulation and Enforcement, London, Routledge, 2016.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
With advances in technology and maritime transport, the spectrum of human activities in all parts of the ocean and the deep seabed is steadily increasing. A combination of factors means that human uses of the ocean now extend beyond the traditional activities of navigation and fishing to new and emerging activities such as bioprospecting for marine genetic resources, deep seabed mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, offshore renewable energy developments and marine scientific probes of deep sea areas. This handbook examines in depth current regulatory and enforcement instruments and mechanisms for different sectors of maritime activity in the various zones of maritime jurisdiction. The cornerstone of the international law framework for regulating these activities is the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Bankes, N. and Trevisanut, S., Energy from the Sea: An International Law Perspective on Ocean Energy, Leiden, Brill, 2015View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
One of the main challenges of our time is to be able to guarantee energy supply at a reasonable price. Policy makers, international institutions and the private sector increasingly look to the oceans as a significant source of energy. The Law of the Sea provides the legal framework within which any maritime activity is performed and strikes a balance between the multiple activities that can take place simultaneously in the same maritime zone. This volume addresses some of the main legal challenges raised by the expansion of the ocean energy sector and its consequences for the relevant international normative and institutional framework. Some of the major themes explored include energy sources and the competition for marine space, energy security, private actors and corporate social responsibility, fragmentation or integration, evolution and reinforcement of international law and liability.
Tseng, Hui-Yi K., Lessons from the Disturbed Waters: the Diaoyu/Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Disputes, New Jersey, World Scientific, 2015View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Please check out the Blog about Senkaku or Diaoyutai Islands?
Abstract: Although the flare-up of tensions in East Asia over the disputed islands, which are alternatively called Diaoyu (China), Diaoyutai (Taiwan) and Senkaku (Japan), seems to be ever more frequent, it has not always been the case. Lessons from the Disturbed Waters traces the origin of the issue back to when it first surfaced in the 1970s. The book explains the positions of the claimants, China, Japan and Taiwan, and explores the reasons why they have taken such positions over the past few decades. Unlike the other books which analyse the disputes predominantly from a geopolitical perspective, this books tries to do so mainly from the perspectives of international law, conflict management, negotiation strategies, and history. Readers will get to see an interesting dynamism played out among the three actors which are directly involved and the influence of extra-regional stakeholders such as the US over the disputes. While the disputes are still evolving, the author hopes this book can shed new light on the intricacies and complexities of the disputes and can provide some threads for further in-depth discussions.
Cottier, Th., Equitable Principles of Maritime Boundary Delimitation: the Quest for Distributive Justice in International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Equity emerged as a powerful symbol of aspired redistribution in international relations. Operationally, it has had limited impact in the Westphalian system of nation states - except for maritime boundary delimitations. This book deals with the role of equity in international law, and offers a detailed case study on maritime boundary delimitation in the context of the enclosure movement in the law of the sea. It assesses treaty law and the impact of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It depicts the process of trial and error in the extensive case law of the International Court of Justice and arbitral tribunals and expounds the underlying principles and factors informing the methodology both in adjudication and negotiations. Unlike other books, the main focus is on equity and its implications for legal methodology, in particular offering further guidance in the field of international economic law.
Rothwell, D.R., Oude Elferink, A.G., Scott, K.N. and T. Stephens (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Human activities have taken place in the world's oceans and seas for most of human history. With such a vast number of ways in which the oceans can be used for trade, exploited for natural resources and fishing, as well as concerns over maritime security, the legal systems regulating the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans have long been a crucial part of international law. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea comprehensively defined the parameters of the law of the sea in 1982, and since the Convention was concluded it has seen considerable development. This Oxford Handbook provides a comprehensive and original analysis of its current debates and controversies, both theoretical and practical. Written by over forty expert and interdisciplinary contributors, the Handbook sets out how the law of the sea has developed, and the challenges it is currently facing.
Tanaka, Y.,The International Law of the Sea, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This new edition has been fully revised and updated to include the contemporary issues together with new cases delivered by international courts and tribunals, such as the ICJ, ITLOS and Arbitral Tribunals, treaties, UN resolutions, and other instruments. It retains the clear chapter structure of the first edition, but has expanded the topics on marine spaces beyond national jurisdiction, maritime delimitation, protection of the marine environment. A new concluding chapter has also been included and presents a perspective on the future development of the international law of the sea. Detailed footnotes and further reading sections, combined with illustrations and tables ensure understanding of the subject. By offering clarity of expression and academic rigour, The International Law of the Sea remains the best choice for students.
Buszynski, L. and Roberts, C.B. (eds.), The South China Sea Maritime Dispute: Political, Legal and Regional Perspectives, London, Routledge, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Please check out the Library Special South China Sea Territorial Disputes
The South China Sea is a major strategic waterway for trade and oil shipments to Japan, Korea as well as southern China. It has been the focus of a maritime dispute which has continued now for over six decades, with competing claims from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei. Recently China has become more assertive in pressing its claims – harassing Vietnamese fishing vessels and seizing reefs in the Philippine claim zone. China has insisted that it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the area and has threatened to enforce its claim. All of this is unsettling and draws in the United States which is concerned about freedom of navigation in the area. The US has been supporting the Philippines and has been developing security ties with Vietnam as a check upon China. This book examines the conflict potential of the current dispute, it discusses how the main claimants and the United States view the issue, and assesses the prospects for a resolution of the problem.
Caron, D.D. and Oral, N. (eds.), Navigating Straits : Challenges for International Law, Leiden, Brill, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The importance of straits, particularly those used in international navigation, has been long recognized in international law. One of the important debates during the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Conference concerned the regime of passage through straits used in international navigation. The result was the creation of a multi-tiered legal framework of passage that included the entirely a new “transit passage” regime. Although over thirty years have passed since the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, the vital role played by straits in the global communications network continues to be surrounded by conflicts between the interests of coastal states and shipping. Challenges still exist to achieving the simultaneous global goals of secure passage of vessels and protection of the marine environment. Internationally recognized international law scholars provide in-depth analysis of the legal challenges in straits concerning security, piracy, safety and environmental protection.
Jayakumar, S., T. Koh and R. Beckman (eds.), The South China Sea Disputes and Law of the Sea, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Please check out the Library Special South China Sea Territorial Disputes
Offering a comprehensive analysis of the individual topics and their application to the South China Sea region, each chapter of the book provides a substantive and rigorous investigation into the history, development and application of the relevant legal principles. It is written within the global context so that lessons learned from this exercise will have global implications. Contributors include former judges from ITLOS, legal advisors to States who participated in the negotiation and drafting of UNCLOS, as well as outstanding scholars of both law and geography, many of whom have acted as counsel or experts in cases before international court and tribunals.
This important book provides neutral and objective analysis of law of the sea issues of relevance to the South China Sea and will therefore prove a valuable resource to Government officials and policy-makers from the ASEAN countries, Australia, China, Japan, Korea and the United States. It will also be of special interest to political analysts with an ongoing interest in the legal issues pertaining to the South China Sea region in light of concerns regarding conflict, challenges to freedom of navigation and access to resources.
Mahinga, J.-G., La pêche maritime et le droit international, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Le développement des technologies a conduit à l'accroissement des activités de pêche maritime ainsi qu'à l'essor de l'intérêt économique de la mer. Le droit international a donc été amené à poser les règles d'organisation de la pêche autour des compétences reconnues aux Etats dans des espaces maritimes clairement déterminés ainsi qu'en matière de captures des espèces. Il a également prévu les modalités de règlement des différends qui surviendraient dans l'application de ces règles.
Harrison, J., Making the Law of the Sea: a Study in the Development of International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Making the Law of the Sea examines how various international organisations have contributed to the development of this law and what kinds of instruments and law-making techniques have been used. Each chapter considers a different international institution – including the International Maritime Organization and the United Nations – and analyses its functions and powers. Important questions are posed about the law-making process, including what actors are involved and what procedures are followed. Potential problems for the development of the law of the sea are considered and solutions are proposed. In particular, James Harrison explores and evaluates the current methods employed by international institutions to coordinate their law-making activities in order to overcome fragmentation of the law-making process.
Yamamoto, L. and Esteban, M., Atoll Island States and International Law: Climate Change Displacement and Sovereignty, Berlin, Springer, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Atoll Island States exist on top of what is perceived to be one of the planet's most vulnerable ecosystems: atolls. It has been predicted that an increase in the pace of sea level rise brought about by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will cause them to disappear, forcing their inhabitants to migrate. The present book represents a multidisciplinary legal and engineering perspective on this problem, challenging some common misconceptions regarding atolls and their vulnerability to sea-level rise. Coral islands have survived past changes in sea levels, and it is the survival of coral reefs what will be crucial for their continued existence. These islands are important for their inhabitants as they represent not only their ancestral agricultural lands and heritage, but also a source of revenue through the exploitation of the maritime areas associated with them.
- ASIL Electronic Research Guide on the Law of the Sea
- Brill's International Maritime Boundaries Online
- Brill's United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Commentary
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Conferences on the Law of the Sea, by Shabtai Rosenne and Julia Gebhard.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, High Seas, by Tullio Treves.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, History of the Law of the Sea, by Andree Kirchner.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Sea Lanes, by Donald R. Rothwell. The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MPEPIL) is a comprehensive online resource containing over 1600 peer-reviewed articles on every aspect of public international law. It has been re-designed to improve the look and feel of the site, and the search functionality. Written and edited by an incomparable team of over 800 scholars and practitioners, published in partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, and updated throughout the year. All included articles are peer-reviewed and treat international law from a global/regional perspective. This major reference work is essential for anyone researching or teaching international law.
- Oxford Reports on International Law (ORIL) on Law of the Sea
- UNCLOS III Research Guide
The South China Sea Arbitration (12 July 2016) PCA Case No. 2013-19
In the South China Sea Arbitration Award (12 July 2016), an arbitral tribunal at The Hague found that China’s claim to historic rights to resources was incompatible with the detailed allocation of rights and maritime zones in the Convention. The Tribunal considered that prior to the Convention, the waters of the South China Sea beyond the territorial sea were legally part of the high seas, in which vessels from any State could freely navigate and fish. Accordingly, the Tribunal concluded that, as between the Philippines and China, there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided for by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.Read more
Vessel-Source Air Pollution Remains Global 'Blindspot'
Shipping is considered to be a significant source of global air pollution, both for conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases. Sulphur and black carbon, also called soot, are released in the air in large quantities because large (container and cruise) ships use heavy bunker oil. This is oil from the waste well of the oil industry, the cheapest and dirtiest thing you can get. Seventeen containerships emit as much sulfur as all the cars on the planet in one year. And one cruise ship emits a day as much soot as one million cars.Read more
Coral Reefs under Threat?
Are coral reefs condemned to disappear? During the first decade of the 21st century, the intensification of cyclones, the phenomenon of coral bleaching due to ocean warming, outbreaks of a coral-eating starfish and coral diseases left us with this fear. In terms of addressing knowledge gaps, coral reefs are a priority because of their extraordinarily high biological richness and the multitude of products and ecosystem services they provide to human beings. What is the status and legal regime of coral reefs nowadays?Read more
US Policy China Sea and UNCLOS
The Law of the Sea Treaty, formally known as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, was adopted in 1982. One hundred and sixty-two countries, including China and Russia and the European Union, are signatories to the treaty that governs the world’s oceans. The United States is not. The Convention has been approved by nearly every maritime power and all the permanent members of the UN Security Council, except the United States. Despite being a leading maritime power possessing the largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and one of the longest continental shelves, the United States has not ratified UNCLOS.Read more
Arctic Sovereignty: Icy Roads to the North Pole
Canada, the US, Norway, Russia, and Denmark have been gathering scientific evidence for more than a decade in an effort to increase their continental shelf claims in the Arctic Ocean Region.The potential delimitation dispute between Canada, Russia and Denmark seems to focus on the Lomonosov Ridge. The North Pole is located about 400 nautical miles from the northernmost island of Canada, Denmark, Norway and the Russian Federation. Under international law coastal state rights over the water columns are limited to the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, using the state’s territorial sea baselines as starting point.Read more
Tuvalu, Quo Vadis?
Climate change damage in the South Pacific is a problem for all small island developing states, including Tuvalu. These island states may become uninhabitable within the foreseeable future. What about the maritime boundaries and maritime claims of the former (Tuvalu) sea territory, which options do Tuvaluans have here? Does a disappearing Tuvalu have international repercussions? Tuvalu (formerly the Ellice Islands) comprises a cluster of nine islands, plus islets, located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean just south of the Equator. These remote atolls are situated about 1,050 km (650 mi) n of Suva, Fiji, and 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of Sydney, Australia. Tuvalu has a coastline of 24 km (15 mi). As a rather small archipel Tuvale possesses considerable maritime claims on fishing grounds and natural resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.Read more
Unresolved Territorial Disputes: The Tunbs and Abu Musa in the Gulf
Last week, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, renewed his country’s demand for the restoration of sovereignty over three islands in the Persian Gulf region. Responding to the statement by the UAE, Iran’s representative reiterated his country’s full sovereignty over the islands and categorically rejected any claims to the contrary. The legal dispute about ownership and sovereignty of the three islands is based on rival historical claims by both sides.Read more
Senkaku or Diaoyu(tai) Islands?
The Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute has been close to the boil for months. The Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, took the decision to buy the islands to head off a more destabilising but popular proposal not only to acquire them but also to begin their active development.Read more
Criminal Acts at Sea: research topic of the 2012 Programme of the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations
On Monday 20 August 2012 the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations of the The Hague Academy of International Law will start. The Research Programme of this year is concerned with criminal acts at sea. Together with the two Directors of Studies of the research programme for 2012, Dr. Kimberley N. TRAPP (Lecturer at Newnham College, University of Cambridge) for the French-speaking section and Dr. Efthymios PAPASTAVRIDIS (Lecturer at University of Thrace and Research Fellow at Academy of Athens) for the English-speaking section, the participants will concern themselves with the various aspects of law which are related to criminal acts at sea.Read more
Hans Island : Crisis in the Arctic?
Compared with other regions on the planet, the Arctic is warming faster. More of the Arctic is free of ice for longer periods. The possibilities for exploitation of natural resources and for control over Northern shipping lanes have prompted countries’ renewed interest in their competing claims to the region. Recently, Denmark (for Greenland) and Canada have clashed over their claims to a small, barren rock known as Hans Island.Read more
Pirates, Buccaneers and Privateers : Concepts of International Law
Establishing an authoritative definition of “piracy” in international law has always been rather problematic. The definition is relevant, because any confusion in terminology invariably leads to debates between State sovereignty and universal jurisdiction over crimes at sea. The various international law meanings of piracy are derived from, among others, international treaties, and various municipal law meanings are defined by statutes and State practice.Read more
Plastic Soup – What Legal Response to Marine Debris Pollution ?
Solving the problem of marine debris and plastic pollution in the World’s oceans is a very complex and challenging enterprise. In particular, its legal framework. Various international and regional instruments, domestic and local laws and regulations apply directly or indirectly to marine debris pollution. The conspicuously global nature of this problem indicates that a potential role of significance is reserved for international environmental law. However, not all international and regional instruments are legally binding, and not all have a strong focus on marine debris and plastic pollution.Read more
Grotius in Slovenia
Grotius’ theory on the Freedom of the Sea might help Slovenia in the dispute with Croatia over a small bay in the Adriatic. Since their independence from Yuogoslavia in 1991 they quarrel over the territorial sea delimitation in the Bay of Piran. Croatia claims that the border should be drawn in the middle of the bay, which would deny Slovenian ships direct access to the high sea…Read more
Norway and Russian Federation Sign Maritime Delimitation Agreement
In Murmansk on Wednesday 15th September 2010 Norway and the Russian Federation signed a treaty concerning the maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The disputed territory covered 175,000 square km (67,600 sq miles), an area mainly in the Barents Sea between proven petroleum reserves on the Russian and Norwegian sides.Read more
Announcement lecture 'The law of the sea'
On monday, June 21 2010, prof. mr. A.H.A. Soons (Utrecht university) will give a lecture on the ‘Law of the Sea’. The topics will be international maritime law in general and specific issues like piracy, overfishing and Japanese whaling. Professor Soons will also speak on disputes that states had to claim marine areas. The lecture […]Read more
The Falkland Islands Conflict
Tensions between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands came to a boiling point when the UK announced plans to begin offshore oil drilling near the remote islands in February 2010. This blog will briefly discuss this complicated dispute as well as the actions taken by both parties in the United Nations General Assembly.Read more
Mare Liberum 1609-2009
Celebration of the 400th anniversary of Grotius’ famous book “Mare Liberum”.Read more
Highlight was the presentation of the first copy of a new English translation of Mare Liberum “ Hugo Grotius Mare liberum 1609-2009. Original Latin and English Translation”. Edited and annotated by Robert Feenstra, General Introduction by Jeroen Vervliet. Leiden : Brill 2009. ISBN 9789004177017.
Innocent passage in the territorial sea
The concept of passage is defined in article 18 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Montego Bay, 1982) as ‘continious and expeditious’ navigation through the territorial sea from and to any other sea zone. The passage, to be characterised as innocent, must not be prejudicial to the peace, good order and security of the coastal state (article 19 UNCLOS III).
Article 30 UNCLOS III states that ‘If any warship does not comply with the laws and regulations of the coastal State concerning passage through the territorial sea and disregards any request for compliance therewith which is made to it, the coastal State may require it to leave the territorial sea immediately.’Read more
Hugo Grotius’ Mare Liberum 1609-2009
The Hague celebrates the 400th anniversary of the publication of Hugo Grotius’ Mare Liberum (Leiden, Publishing House of Elsevier) with an extensive program of activities. It commemmorates the fact that Grotius wrote his book in The Hague with exhibitions, theater/musical plays, films, publications and lectures in museums and libraries.Read more
Maritime Cultural Property and Treasure Hunting
Archaeological sites in international waters are numerous and still largely untouched. With the development of sophisticated technology for the search and recovery of shipwrecks on the ocean floor, however, issues of ownership, preservation, and cultural property rights have achieved increasing prominance. In particular, after the discovery of RMS Titanic in 1985 the debate among marine archaeologists, cultural rights proponents and commercial salvage companies about treasure hunting in international waters has intensified.Read more
32nd Telders International Law Moot Court Competition (16-18 April 2009)
The Mare Liberum Case Case concerning sovereignty over Abundantia Ridge and other matters. Rosmarus v Urusus. From 16 – 18 April 2009 the 32nd Telders International Law Moot Court Competition will be held at the Peace Palace in The Hague. The Telders Moot Court Competition could be considered the most prestigious and important international moot […]Read more
Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine)
On Tuesday 3 February 2009 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered its Judgment in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine). A public sitting took place at 10 a.m. at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which the President of the Court, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, read the Court’s Judgment.Read more
- Center for International Maritime Security CIMSEC
- Chronological Lists of Ratifications of Ratifications of, Accessions and Successions to the Convention and the Related Agreements
- EJIL Talk! Blogs about Maritime Delimitation
- Gallagher Law Library, University of Washingtonnternational Law of the Sea
- International Seabed Authority
- International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
- United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
More Research guides on Special Topics
- Air and Space Law
- Cultural Heritage
- Polar Regions
Hashtag for this research guide: #rgsea