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The Trouble With Islands: The Definition And Role Of Islands And Rocks In Maritime Boundary Delimitation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a maritime jurisdictional overview, against which context the importance of islands is assessed. It considers the issue of distinguishing between types of insular feature, especially what constitutes an "island" versus a "rock" in the context of the Law of the Sea Convention Article 121. This is a crucial distinction in respect of the claims to maritime jurisdiction that may be generated from such features. The chapter discusses the developments potentially contributing towards the clarification of Article 121 prior to a review of the role of islands in maritime boundary delimitation. It provides examples of islands being accorded variable effect in the construction of equidistance line boundaries drawn from the experience of state practice and the jurisprudence of international judicial and arbitral courts. Finally the chapter offers some brief concluding observations and reflections.

Keywords: Article 121; islands; Law of the Sea Convention; maritime boundary delimitation; maritime jurisdiction; rock



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