On 4 August 2000 a LOSC Annex VII ad hoc arbitral tribunal issued its award in the Southern Bluefin Tuna case brought by Australia and New Zealand against Japan. It found it had no jurisdiction under the LOSC in respect of the SBT dispute. The decision has been controversial. This paper identifies the idea, prevalent in many parts of the pleadings in the case, that the "real dispute" in the case lay under the 1993 Convention, and discusses the associated idea that the dispute was scientific in character. Questions raised by the scientific issues in the case are explored, including what may constitute good or "best" scientific evidence, the suitability of scientific disputes for international adjudication, the appropriateness of precautionary approaches, the validity of "margins of appreciation", and the most appropriate forms of dispute resolution for cases involving science. The need for greater attention to be devoted to issues raised by the role of science in international dispute resolution may partly explain the strength of the undercurrent in the SBT case which pushed towards the view that there was only one "real dispute", which fell under the 1993 Convention.
Due diligence standards have been read into treaty provisions for the protection for the environment and beyond in a wide range of international legal settings. The compliance provision of the Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Article 13, invites a similar analysis. Despite the doubts of ten years ago that a due diligence standard would be sufficient and appropriate for protecting the Antarctic environment the concept has arguably evolved to the point where it can provide an effective framework for operationalising States’ responsibilities under the Protocol as well as more widely in international environmental law, subject to adequate contextualisation.
Global regulatory standards of due diligence, regulatory coherence, and due regard are emerging in public international law. Investment law has been concerned to settle upon the most appropriate regulatory coherence tests for application in the arbitration of regulatory disputes. Candidates have included proportionality, rationality, and reasonableness tests. This article argues instead for reliance on the due regard standard in conjunction with reasonableness or rationality testing. This will more appropriately reflect the nature of investment treaties as inter-State bargains. Further, responding to arguments for the adoption of proportionality on the basis of comparative public law, the article demonstrates that proportionality is not established as a general head of review in common law jurisdictions including England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. At the same time, the application of the due regard standard can have much in common with procedural proportionality testing as seen among these domestic legal systems and elsewhere.