The South China Sea Award: Prompting a Revived Interest in the Validity of Canada’s Historic Internal Waters Claim?

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online

In the South China Sea Arbitration 2016, the Tribunal ruled on the criteria to determine the historic status of waters. Historic title claims are exceptional as they create rights and obligations outside the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This article examines the Canadian historic title claim to the Northwest Passage in light of the ruling. First, the article will go into the Tribunal’s analysis of the criteria and standard of evidence required for establishing a historic rights/title claim (specifically, China’s claim in the South China Sea). Next, Canada’s claim will be tested against the three general criteria (effective exercise of jurisdiction, passage of time and acquiescence by foreign states). The goal of this article is to highlight the positive and negative aspects of Canada’s historic internal waters claim.

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