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Measuring Compliance and the Decisions of UNCLOS Dispute Settlement Bodies

What happens after an international court or tribunal hands down its judgment? Sir Robert Jennings once noted the irony in how detailed the business of international courts and tribunals is up to and including the rendering of a judgment, and how little we know about what follows. It is indeed a curiosity given that compliance has always been a core focus of international law. Much has been written about whether compliance is necessary for international law to serve its function; whether the reputation of international courts and tribunals are damaged when a State fails to comply with their orders. We don’t intend to wade into these debates, but in a recent study have attempted to correct the lack of knowledge identified by Sir Robert in the context of the decisions of the dispute settlement bodies of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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BBNJ Treaty and the ITLOS Advisory Jurisdiction

The Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, convened in New York, adopted the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (“BBNJ Agreement” or “Agreement”) by consensus on 19 June 2023. Currently,…

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Seafloor High Shopping: (Mis)applying Article 76 of UNCLOS?

Introduction In a 2023 post on EJIL: Talk!, one of the authors to this post addressed some of the conclusions that follow from the recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) of 6 February 2023 in regard to the consideration of the revised…

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American Pick and Choose or Customary International Law?

Since 2003, the United States (US) has been collecting, processing, and analyzing marine geophysical data to determine the outer limits of its continental shelf. Some 20 years later, on 19 December 2023, the US Department of State published the geographical coordinates that define its extended continental shelf (ECS), stating that: ‘The United States…

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The Arctic Sunrise II – Does the ISA have ‘enforcement jurisdiction’ on the High Seas?

On 28 November 2023, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) issued ‘temporary measures’ orders, in accordance with Regulation 33 (i.e., emergency orders) of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules (Polymetallic Nodules Regulations). The measures were issued with respect to an incident involving an ISA contractor, Nauru Ocean…

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