The Contributions of UNCLOS Dispute Settlement Bodies to the Development of the Law of the Sea

Change log
Nguyen, Lan Ngoc 

This thesis seeks to systematically examine the contributions made by the dispute settlement bodies established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to the development of the law of the sea. The two main research questions to be answered are: (i) what kind of contribution have UNCLOS dispute settlement bodies made to the development of the law of the sea? and (ii) what are the factors that impact the performance of UNCLOS dispute settlement bodies in developing the law of the sea? To that end, Chapter 1 provides a working definition for the concept of ‘judicial development of international law’ in order to establish a framework for an assessment of the contributions of UNCLOS tribunals. Based on this working definition, Chapters 2, 3 and 4 examine the significance of UNCLOS tribunals’ decisions in the development of three main areas of the law of the sea, respectively the law on fisheries, the law on the outer continental shelf and the law on marine environmental protection. Based on the findings of these chapters, Chapter 5 analyses the factors that help explain the contributions of UNCLOS tribunals to the law of the sea as identified in the preceding chapters. These factors include: (i) the jurisdictional scope of UNCLOS tribunals, (ii) the institutional design of UNCLOS, (iii) the interpretative method employed by UNCLOS tribunals in deciding their cases and (iv) the perception that UNCLOS tribunals hold regarding their roles. Chapter 6 concludes by taking stock of the contribution of UNCLOS tribunal in these areas and offering some final observations on the role of UNCLOS tribunals in the development of the law of the sea.

Gray, Christine
Law of the sea, UNCLOS, ITLOS, Annex VII arbitral tribunal, Part XV UNCLOS, compulsory jurisdiction, protection of marine environment, outer continental shelf, fisheries, international courts and tribunals, international dispute settlement
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge