Determining Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf
: Impact of Work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

The central issue addressed in this thesis concerns the impact of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), a scientific body, on the third-party settlement of maritime delimitation cases concerning the continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles (NM). The thesis first examines why the CLCS was established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC), introducing its close relationship with the determination of the outer limits of the continental shelves beyond 200 NM by coastal states. As the need for maritime boundary delimitation derives from overlapping entitlements, recommendations issued by the CLCS should be able to make a positive contribution to the work of international judicial bodies concerning the existence of entitlements and overlapping areas.
In order to determine the actual impact that recommendations have, the thesis explores how states have responded to the 40 recommendations so far made by the CLCS and how, in the 8 cases where this question has so far arisen, international judicial bodies have settled delimitation disputes regarding the continental shelves beyond 200 NM. As demonstrated in the thesis, there is, in fact, a gap between what the CLCS was intended to achieve and what it has actually achieved in practice. It has failed to achieve the goal of facilitating the determination by states of the outer limits of their continental shelves beyond 200 NM in a timely and effective way and this has caused problems for international judicial bodies when delimiting the maritime boundaries beyond 200 NM.
Date of Award19 Mar 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorMalcolm Evans (Supervisor) & Patrick Capps (Supervisor)

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