Research Handbook on Jurisdiction and Immunities in International Law

Research Handbook on Jurisdiction and Immunities in International Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Alexander Orakhelashvili

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the international law of jurisdiction and immunities, illustrating those aspects in which the law of jurisdiction and law of immunities are mutually interdependent, as well as shedding light on the implications of that interdependence. With authoritative contributions from recognized experts, it offers an impartial perspective on the applicable international law, independent from any positions held in governmental or other institutional circles.

Chapter 4: Jurisdiction of states and the law of the sea

Yoshifumi Tanaka

Subjects: law - academic, public international law


One of the primary functions of international law concerns the spatial distribution of jurisdiction of states, and the same applies to the law of the sea. The contemporary international law of the sea divides the ocean into multiple jurisdictional zones. In principle, the law of the sea provides rules concerning state jurisdiction according to these jurisdictional zones. Given that the oceans constitute approximately 70 per cent of our planet, the examination of state jurisdiction over marine spaces is of particular importance when considering spatial order in international law. Thus this chapter will seek to examine jurisdiction of states in the international law of the sea. Multiple jurisdictional zones in the law of the sea are a product of history. Traditionally the law was based on the dualism on the oceans, namely, the narrow territorial sea which is under the territorial sovereignty of the coastal state and the vast high seas which are governed by the principle of freedom of the sea. After the Second World War, the oceans were further divided into multiple jurisdictional zones. The decisive step toward the division of the oceans was taken by the Truman Proclamations on the Continental Shelf and Fisheries of 28 September 1945.

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