Abstract 2014/1 p. 182

This paper addresses some of the questions which the growing volume of UNCLOS litigation has begun to expose. As in any system of compulsory adjudication, states will seek to use the system to their best advantage. Does it make any difference which forum the parties choose? What should the scope of compulsory jurisdiction be? Should an UNCLOS tribunal facilitate, or even encourage, evolutionary interpretation of Part XV? Some states have been pushing to expand the exceptions to jurisdiction; others have sought to contract them. Whether these exceptions can or should remain stable – or be changed only by a consensus of all the parties – has emerged as one of the most contested contemporary issues facing UNCLOS courts and tribunals. Finally, the paper considers whether there is evidence of fragmentation in the case law from different tribunals dealing with the same legal questions. This had been one of the fears expressed about the so called cafeteria system of dispute settlement adopted in Part XV. We are now at the point where we can begin to evaluate all these questions against a significant body of jurisprudence.

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