The South China Sea Arbitration: Observations on the Award of 12 July 2016
Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No. 14/2018
99 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018
Date Written: May 17, 2018
In its Award of 29 October 2015 on Jurisdiction and Admissibility the Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration between the Philippines and China reserved consideration of its jurisdiction to rule on eight of the Philippines’ 15 submissions to the merits phase of the proceedings. In its final award of 12 July 2016 the Tribunal decided that it had jurisdiction to consider the matters raised in all but two outstanding submissions and that all claims set out in these submissions were admissible. This paper critically examines the Tribunal’s final ruling on jurisdiction and admissibility. It attempts to understand the Chinese position on the Tribunal’s lack of jurisdiction and put it into a legal framework. The paper is based on extensive archival research shedding new light on the drafting of various provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is shown that the Tribunal’s findings on jurisdiction are seriously flawed, that questions of admissibility have been neglected, and that the Award is, in parts, technically deficient.
Keywords: Law of the Sea, international dispute settlement, jurisdiction and admissibility, South China Sea Arbitration
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