The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

Delineation, Delimitation and Dispute Settlement


In The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles, Bjarni Már Magnússon explores various aspects of the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles and maritime boundary delimitations. Special emphasis is laid on the interplay between these processes and the role of coastal States, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and international courts and tribunals in this regard.

Magnússon convincingly argues that despite the possibility for tension to arise the relationship between the relevant institutions and processes is clear and precise and they together form a coherent system where each separate institution plays its own part in a larger process.

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Bjarni Már Magnússon, Ph.D. (2013), University of Edinburgh, is Assistant Professor in International Law at Reykjavik University. He has published on public international law and was a junior counsel for Bangladesh in the maritime boundary delimitation case against Myanmar.
“This book addresses a very important topic at a time which is currently very much a ‘live’ issue in a number of cases before international courts and tribunals. This is both a help and a handicap. The work tends to be stronger on identifying the questions which need to be addressed than in offering clear answers to them. Given the difficulties of answering those questions, such caution is both understandable and appropriate, but it does mean that those hoping to find clear answers may be disappointed. What it does do, however, is set out in detail the range of issues which need to be addressed when considering the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles and so offers a very helpful template for engaging with the complexities of the topic.”
- Malcolm Evans, Professor of Public International Law, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK, in: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

1. Introduction
1.1. The Topic
1.2. The Approach
1.3. Outline of the Study
2. The Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf
2.1. Introduction
2.2. What is the Continental Shelf?
2.3. The Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles
2.3.1. The History of the Legal Continental Shelf 1945-82
2.3.2. Natural Prolongation 19
2.3.3. UNCLOS Provisions on the Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf
2.3.4. Coastal States’ Rights and Duties in the Continental Shelf
2.4. Concluding Remarks
3. The Role of the CLCS
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Legal Instruments
3.3. What is the CLCS?
3.3.1. What is the Role of the CLCS?
3.3.2. Who are the Members of the CLCS?
3.3.3. What kind of Entity is the CLCS?
3.3.4. Does the CLCS Represent the International Community?
3.3.5. The Commission’s Connections to other International Entities
3.4. Recommendations and Resubmissions
3.4.1. Introduction
3.4.2. Main Aspects of the Procedure
3.4.3. Adopted Recommendations and Resubmissions
3.5. Four Fundamental Issues of Interpretation
3.5.1. Are States obliged to make a Submission to the CLCS?
3.5.2. Can a Non-Party to UNCLOS make a Submission to the CLCS?
3.5.3. What does ‘on the basis’ mean?
3.5.4. What does ‘final and binding’ mean?
3.6. The CLCS, Maritime Boundary Delimitations and Unresolved Land and Maritime Disputes
3.6.1. What is not the Role of the CLCS
3.6.2. What is a Dispute?
3.6.3. Third Parties
3.6.4. Partial Submissions
3.6.5. Joint and Separate Submissions
3.7. Concluding Remarks
4. Delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm – The Method
4.1. Introduction
4.2. The Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Adjacent or Opposite Coastal States
4.2.1. The Drawing of a Line
4.2.2. An Agreement on the Basis of International Law
4.2.3. Equitable Principles and Equidistance
4.2.4. The Development of Continental Shelf Delimitations
4.2.5. The Difference between Delineation and Delimitation
4.3. Is there an Inner and Outer Continental Shelf in Maritime Boundary Delimitations?
4.4. The Difference between Negotiation and Adjudication in Maritime Boundary Delimitations
4.5. Is the Equidistance/Relevant Circumstances Method Applicable in Delimitation Cases regarding the Outer Continental Shelf?
4.5.1. The Method
4.5.2. Entitlement
4.5.3. Relevant Coastal Segments
4.5.4. The First Step ― A Provisional Equidistance Line
4.5.5. The Second Step ― Relevant Circumstances
4.5.6. The Principle of Non-Encroachment
4.5.7. The Third Step ― Proportionality
4.6. Defining the Terminus of an Outer Continental Shelf Boundary
4.7. The ‘Grey Area’ Problem
4.8. Outer Continental Shelf Boundary Agreements
4.8.1. Introduction
4.8.2. State Practice
4.8.3. Trends in State Practice
4.9. Concluding Remarks
5. The Role of International Courts and Tribunals in Outer Continental Shelf Disputes
5.1. Introduction
5.2. The Settlement of Disputes
5.2.1. Introduction
5.2.2. The Main Dispute Settlement Provisions of UNCLOS
5.2.3. The Law-Making Role of International Courts and Tribunals
5.2.4. The Optional Exception Clause
5.2.5. Standing
5.2.6. Entitlement Disputes Prior CLCS Recommendations
5.2.7. Are States obliged to wait for Recommendations from the CLCS before they seek to delimit the Outer Continental Shelf with Neighbouring States?
5.3. The Evaluation of Scientific and Technical Evidence by International Courts and Tribunals
5.3.1. Introduction
5.3.2. What is Scientific and Technical Evidence?
5.3.3. Scientific and Technical Complexity as a Non-Jurisdictional Bar
5.3.4. Procedural Methods to deal with Scientific and Technical Evidence
5.3.5. The Depth of Judicial Assessment of Scientific and Technical Findings of the CLCS
5.3.6. Can an International Court or Tribunal cope with Complex Scientific and Technical Data?
5.4. The Consequences of a Judgement for the CLCS
5.5. Concluding Remarks
6. Conclusions

Table of Principal Treaties and Instruments

All interested in the law of the sea, especially those interested in the continental shelf and anyone concerned about the interaction of the institutions relevant for the function of UNCLOS.