International Law and Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction

Reflections on Justice, Space, Knowledge and Power


The legal regime of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) has received much attention in the last decades. The ongoing process in regards of an agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ, initiated in the early 2000s (BBNJ process) is crucial evidence of this. However, this process reflects entrenched interests and political and legal structures, muting other voices and alternative approaches. International Law and Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction investigates competing constructions of ABNJ and their role in the creation and articulations of legal principles, which provides a broader perspective on the BBNJ process.

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Vito De Lucia, PhD (2016), UiT the Arctic University of Norway, is Professor of Law at that University. He is an award-winning scholar, and has published monographs, edited volumes and many papers in high impact journals on international environmental law, law of the sea and critical legal theory.

Alex Oude Elferink is the Director of the Netherlands Institute for the law of the sea (NILOS) and an associate of the Utrecht Centre for Oceans, Water and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL), School of Law, Utrecht University, the Netherlands He is the author of The Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands; Arguing Law, Practicing Politics? (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Lan Ngoc Nguyen is an Assistant Professor of Public International Law at Utrecht University School of Law, Department International and European Law and a Senior Research Associate of the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea, Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law. Lan holds a B.A in International Relations (summa cum laude) from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, an LL.M in International Law (First Class Honours) and a PhD from the University of Cambridge.
Acknowledgments and Preface

List of Figures and Tables

Table of Acronyms

Notes on Contributors

Table of Cases

Table of Treaties

1 Areas beyond National Jurisdiction – Looking at and beyond the bbnj Process
  Alex Oude Elferink, Vito De Lucia and Lan Ngoc Nguyen

2 Ocean Commons and an ‘Ethological’ Nomos of the Sea
  Vito De Lucia

3 The Nature of Legal Relations between States under the Proposed bbnj Agreement
  Nigel Bankes

4 Mapping Key Past and Current Debate on Areas beyond National Jurisdiction
  Tore Henriksen

5 Principled Challenges Between Collective Interest and Individual Freedom
  Lan Ngoc Nguyen

6 Thinking about Ocean Governance By Whom, for Whom?
  Margherita Poto

7 Finding a Home for bbnj – The cbd, the losc, and the General Assembly Complementary Alternatives?
  Alex Oude Elferink and Baine Kerr

8 Protecting the Environment of abnj through Marine Protected Areas and Area-based Management Tools Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full and Whose Glass is It Anyway?
  Alex Oude Elferink

9 The Relevance of the Human Right to Science for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction A New Legally Binding Instrument to Support Co-Production of Ocean Knowledge Across Scales
  Elisa Morgera

10 ‘The Construction of Ocean Space in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction A Fisheries Perspective’
  Richard Barnes

11 Ships in abnj – Broadening Jurisdictional Opportunities for Non-flag States
  Henrik Ringbom

12 Imagining a Polycentric Institutional Governance for Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction
  Kristine Kraabel

13 Dispute Settlement in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction
  Joanna Mossop

14 The Legal Regime of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction Viewed through the Lenses of Power, Knowledge, Justice and Space
  Lan Ngoc Nguyen, Alex Oude Elferink and Vito De Lucia


The book is targeted for the academic community, in particular legal scholars and students involved in the law of the sea and ocean governance. Outside the academic community, the target audience includes law and policy makers, as well as society at large.
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