Jurisdiction and Applicable Law Under UNCLOS

19 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2015 Last revised: 25 Oct 2016

Date Written: 2016


It is a well-established principle of international law that applicable law provisions do not expand the jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals. Nevertheless, UNCLOS tribunals have not uniformly conformed to this principle. In particular, the tribunals in M/V Saiga (No. 2), Guyana v. Suriname, and M/V Virginia G effectively invoked Article 293(1) to expand their jurisdiction. And although the tribunals in MOX Plant, Chagos, Arctic Sunrise, and Duzgit Integrity have stood by the principle, they all failed to recognize the legal error committed by the other three tribunals. This Comment argues that an express refutation of the erroneous jurisprudence is necessary to preserve the legitimacy of UNCLOS proceedings.

Keywords: UNCLOS, law of the sea, jurisdiction, supplemental jurisdiction, applicable law, Article 288, Article 293, M/V Saiga, Guyana, Suriname, M/V Virgnia, MOX Plant, Chagos, Arctic Sunrise, Duzgit Integrity

Suggested Citation

Tzeng, Peter, Jurisdiction and Applicable Law Under UNCLOS (2016). Comment, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 126, No. 1, pp. 242-260 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2666062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2666062

Peter Tzeng (Contact Author)

Foley Hoag LLP ( email )

United States

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