Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006

Publication Citation

13 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 1 (2006)


This article discusses the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and questions its role and value. The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea seems to contemplate fairly extensive jurisdiction for the Tribunal, but since its inception, the Tribunal has heard a very limited number and scope of cases, in part because disputants have other options for adjudication. This article provides a detailed discussion of the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. The Tribunal has compulsory jurisdiction in "prompt release" cases and in claims for provisional measures where the arbitral tribunal before which the claim will ultimately be brought has not yet been constituted. These two types of jurisdiction comprise the majority of applications to the Tribunal. This article suggests ways that the Tribunal might seek to expand its competence and relevance and contribute to the interpretation of the Convention.