The Role of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf: A Technical Body in a Political World

in The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
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Abstract

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is a body created by the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. The Commission was established as part of the careful compromises respecting Article 76 and the formula therein for the determination of the outer limits of the continental shelf. The purpose of this contribution is to explore what role the Law of the Sea Convention provides to the Commission when a coastal state seeks to establish the outer limit of the continental shelf under the Convention. The argument of this contribution is that the principal role of the Commission is as a legitimator of the claims of a coastal state and that this is a relatively modest role in what is essentially a boundary-making process that is political.

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