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Vital Interests ('Vital Bays'): a 'Fourth' Factor Relevant to Evidence of Historic Waters?

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Chapter Summary

"Vital interests" are defined by Bouchez as "interests to which such a great value is attached by a State that their realisation is seen a necessity for the existence of a national community". Closely allied to this concept is the phenomenon known as the ?vital bay'. Undoubtedly, early claims to historic waters made excessive and simplistic reference largely to geographic factors. The UN Juridical Regime suggested that in addition to the three conventionally-required factors for historic waters, "a fourth is sometimes mentioned", namely whether the claim can be "justified on the basis of economic necessity, national security, vital interest or a similar ground"-what is usually summed up generically as the "vital interests" requirement. Thus the true role of vital interests in the case of historic waters would appear to be no more influential than in other aspects of the law of the sea.

Keywords: economic necessity; geographic factors; historic waters; law of the sea; national security; UN Juridical Regime; vital bay; vital interests



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