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Dispute settlement under the United Nations Convention On the Law of the Sea and Its Role in Oceans Governance

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posted on 2021-11-07, 21:54 authored by Chakraborty, Anshuman

This thesis is about the dispute settlement provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC or Convention), and the potential and actual role that they play in oceans governance. The study focuses not only on the traditional role of dispute settlement mechanisms in peacefully settling disputes, but also on their potential for contribution to good oceans governance in many ways. The jurisprudence generated so far under the dispute settlement provisions of the LOSC can be called neither a complete success nor a total failure. Part XV of the Convention, dealing with dispute settlement procedures, has made a promising start with the inaugural jurisprudence under the prompt release and provisional measures proceedings. However, besides the general beneficial influence of the jurisprudence on oceans governance, a few detrimental developments have also been identified from the perspective of oceans governance. The present thesis demonstrates that a lot of hope had been pinned on the dispute settlement provisions at the time when the LOSC was drafted. However, most of these hopes have not yet found expression, and if the limited use of dispute settlement procedures continues, it is unlikely that Part XV will fulfil those hopes in the future. Nevertheless, this thesis argues along more optimistic lines, and expresses a realistic hope that the actual role of dispute settlement in oceans governance will improve in the future. The thesis concludes that the success or failure of the dispute settlement mechanisms mostly depends upon their actual use made by states. Further, the dispute settlement mechanisms once invoked must be able to settle disputes objectively on the basis of law, equity and justice and uphold the principles and provisions of the LOSC. It is hoped that states will have recourse to Part XV more often for the purpose of settling their disputes peacefully, and that the dispute settlement provisions will in turn fulfil their mandate. Only then will the world witness the dispute settlement mechanisms playing a real and beneficial role in oceans governance, concurrently with other oceans governance institutions and arrangements.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Law

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Atkin, Bill; Mossop, Joanna