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The Development of the Modern Law of the Sea

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the development of the modern law and the central issue of the limits of national jurisdiction. The history of the law of the sea has been set out by learned authorities. O?Connell in particular points out that throughout modern history two competing doctrines have been advanced by scholars in regard to the status or governance of maritime areas: national authority over the seas or Mare clausum; and freedom of the seas or Mare liberum. Both these doctrines remain important elements in the modern law. Coastal States had territorial waters extending to three nautical miles (nm), subject to insignificant expectations, and measurement in a belt around the coasts. In 1949, the International Law Commission (ILC), at the proposal of Iceland, included the law of the high seas at the head of its list of topics of international law that were ripe for codification and progressive development.

Keywords: Coastal States; Iceland; International Law Commission (ILC); law of the sea; Mare clausum; Mare liberum; modern law; national jurisdiction



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