Maritime Delimitation

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Sovereignty has “Rock-all” to do with it… or has it? What’s at stake in the recent diplomatic spat between Scotland and Ireland?

Rockall, the tiny, remote, rocky outcrop in the northeast Atlantic – a ghostly peak of an extinct volcano – has periodically appeared in the news at the centre of a longstanding dispute between the UK and Ireland (as well as, more peripherally, Denmark (Faroe Islands) and Iceland too). This dispute has rarely flared up publicly over recent years, as it has largely been subsumed as part of ongoing, unresolved negotiations surrounding extended continental shelf claims of the four states concerned. However, earlier this month, the Scottish government threatened enforcement action against Irish vessels which it claimed were illegally fishing within Scottish territorial waters surrounding Rockall. Ireland immediately responded to this threat by denying Scotland’s right to take any such action. It seemingly based its position on (i) a rejection of UK sovereignty over the islet and, (ii) the argument that such sovereignty (even if it existed) over uninhabited ‘rocks’ like Rockall was irrelevant for the UK’s claimed maritime entitlement. Although any enforcement action has yet to take place, the underlying diplomatic feud appears not to be…

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The China-Japan and Venezuela-Guyana Maritime Disputes: how the law on undelimited maritime areas addresses unilateral hydrocarbon activities

In December 2018, two incidents brought to the fore the importance of the rules addressing activities in undelimited maritime areas.  The first incident occurred between China and Japan in the East China Sea, and the second took place between Venezuela and Guyana in the Atlantic Ocean. Whereas the establishment of maritime boundaries is the optimum choice when it…

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Taking the party line on the South China Sea Arbitration

I recently posted here on the extraordinary 500-page “Critical Study” of the Awards in the South China Sea Arbitration published by the Chinese Society of International Law (CSIL) in Oxford University Press’ Chinese Journal of International Law. The piece drew a number of interesting comments, the most interesting from Professor Bing…

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A new twist in the South China Sea Arbitration: The Chinese Society of International Law’s Critical Study

On Monday 14 May 2018 the Chinese Journal of International Law, an Oxford University Press journal, published an extraordinary 500 page “Critical Study” of the Awards on jurisdiction and the merits in the South China Sea Arbitration between the Philippines and China. Readers will recall the case was brought under the UN Convention on the Law of…

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Part II: Analysis of Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean

An overview of the Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire judgment is provided in the first part of this post. The purpose of this second part is to highlight issues of practical significance which flow from the judgment. In two important ways, the Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire judgment has demonstrated the functionality of dispute resolution processes under Part XV of…

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