The Delimitation of the Territorial Sea, the Continental Shelf and the EEZ: A Comparative Perspective

In Alex G. Oude Elferink, Tore Henriksen and Signe Veierud Busch (eds), Maritime Boundary Delimitation: The Case Law. Is it Consistent and Predictable. Cambridge (UK), Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp. 33-61.

This chapter examines the approach of international courts and tribunals to the delimitation of the territorial sea in the light of the delimitation method stated in the rule contained in Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as against the absence of such in Articles 74 and 83 for delimiting the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones (EEZs). With the extension of sovereign rights and jurisdiction to areas beyond the territorial sea, cases involving the delimitation of the continental shelf and EEZs have increasingly featured in international courts and tribunals. To enable the resolution of disputes submitted to them, and faced with the silence of Articles 74/83 as to any delimitation method, the judiciary had to develop a methodology for delimiting the continental shelf and EEZs. Also international law doctrine has increasingly focused on delimitation of the continental shelf and EEZs. Whether that judicially developed methodology has in turn also affected the approach employed by the judiciary in the delimitation of the territorial sea has, however, attracted little attention so far. The analysis undertaken in this chapter indicates that such attention may be warranted, especially in the light of recent decisions by the international courts and tribunals involving the territorial sea delimitation.

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