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The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea: An Overview of its Jurisdictional Procedure

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image of The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea established the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea as one of the compulsory procedures to be chosen by States for the settlement of their disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. ITLOS became operational on 1 October 1996. As a specialized judicial forum, the jurisdiction of ITLOS is limited to matters related to the Law of the Sea. On the other hand it is open to entities other than States, "which contributes to the Tribunal's comprehensive character. The Tribunal's decisions […] are final and are required to be complied with by all the parties to the disputes. Thus except in relation to its jurisdiction, […] in other respects the Tribunal enjoys a standing comparable to the ICJ". The jurisdiction in personam of ITLOS is a remarkable innovation. The author gives an overview of the jurisdictional procedure of the Tribunal in this article.


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