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Law, Practice and Procedure

P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

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INTRODUCTION

Law, Practice and Procedure

P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

Chapter 1 contains two brief sections. The first explains the historical background of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and refers to the developments which have taken place since 1982. The second gives an overview of the existing mechanisms for the settlement of disputes relating to the law of the sea, with a particular emphasis on the procedures set out in Part XV of the Convention.

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INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW

Law, Practice and Procedure

P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

Chapter 2 focuses on the Tribunal as an autonomous international judicial body set up by the Convention. Section 1 refers to the Tribunal's legal status, seat, and privileges and immunities, while sections 2 and 3 examine the status of the judges of the Tribunal (elections, conditions of service, privileges and immunities, judges ad hoc), the President, and experts under art. 289 of the Convention. The Tribunal's chambers (Seabed Disputes Chamber, special chambers), the Tribunal's committees, and the official languages are the items successively exposed in sections 4–7. Administrative and budgetary matters relating to the Tribunal and its Registry (Secretariat), and the Tribunal's external relations are presented in sections 8–10, respectively.

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JURISDICTION

Law, Practice and Procedure

P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

Chapter 3 deals with the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, both in contentious and advisory proceedings. After a presentation of the notions of jurisdiction and admissibility (section 1), section 2 considers the Tribunal's contentious jurisdiction ratione personae (States Parties to the Convention and entities other than States Parties). Section 3 examines the contentious jurisdiction ratione materiae (existence of a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention, which is not excluded from the jurisdiction of the Tribunal pursuant to limitations and exceptions contained in arts 297 and 298 of the Convention). The basis on which States Parties to the Convention may consent to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal as well as the preconditions for the seizure of the Tribunal (arts 281, 282 and 283, of the Convention) are addressed in section 4. In light of its unique character, the jurisdiction of the Seabed Disputes Chamber of the Tribunal is considered in a separate section, section 5. Sections 6 and 7 are devoted to the compulsory jurisdiction of the Tribunal in prompt release proceedings (art. 292 of the Convention) and provisional measures proceedings (art. 290, para. 5, of the Convention). The jurisdiction of the Tribunal on the basis of agreements other than the Convention is addressed in section 8 and section 9 gives an overview of the judicial practice of the Tribunal in dealing with objections to admissibility. The advisory jurisdiction of the Tribunal and of the Seabed Disputes Chamber are examined in section 10. The question of applicable law is the subject of section 11.

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PROCEDURE

Law, Practice and Procedure

P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

Chapter 4 gives a detailed account of how a case is dealt with by the Tribunal or its chambers, both in contentious and advisory proceedings. After a presentation of the different texts applicable to procedural matters in section 1, section 2 examines the successive steps which are to be followed in the conduct of a case, from the pre-judicial phase until the voting on the decision, including the Tribunal's rules and practice relating to evidence. Incidental proceedings (provisional measures, preliminary proceedings, preliminary objections, counter-claims, intervention, discontinuance) are a regular feature in international litigation and they are the subject of section 3. Prompt release proceedings constitute self-contained procedures and are examined under section 4. Proceedings before special chambers (chamber of summary procedure, standing chambers and ad hoc chambers) are addressed in section 5, while section 6 focuses on contentious proceedings before the Seabed Disputes Chamber. Section 7 addresses questions relating to judgments and orders of the Tribunal (essential requirements, binding force and compliance, interpretation and revision). Section 8 is devoted to advisory proceedings before the Seabed Disputes Chamber and before the Tribunal. The issues of participation of NGOs and of costs are considered in section 9 and section 10, respectively.

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P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

By applying the law to a specific situation in order to settle a dispute, international courts interpret legal rules and provide answers which ensure a consistent implementation of international law. To that extent they contribute to the development of international law. Chapter 5 illustrates the contribution of the Tribunal's jurisprudence to international law by selecting different questions which relate either to the judicial practice of the Tribunal (inter alia, the creative use of provisional measures and advisory proceedings or the Tribunal's handling of delimitation questions) or to issues in respect of which international law has developed on the basis of the decisions of the Tribunal (inter alia, the status and obligations of the flag States, the protection of the marine environment, and State's responsibility).

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AN ASSESSMENT

Law, Practice and Procedure

P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

As a conclusion of their work, the authors observe that the Tribunal has fulfilled the role entrusted to it by the Convention on the Law of the Sea. It has developed its own working methods in handling cases and has established itself as a judicial institution able to discharge its functions efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, its jurisprudence has contributed to the development of a coherent interpretation of the law of the sea.

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P. Chandrasekhara Rao and Philippe Gautier

This book provides a first-hand insight into the constitution, jurisdiction, procedure and judicial practice of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. It provides a valuable guide to the jurisprudence of the Tribunal over the past 20 years, and serves as a reference point for practical information on how cases are received and handled by the Tribunal.