This chapter is the first of three that explore various mechanisms and causal logics that contribute to settlement of maritime boundary disputes. Starting with the legal: As maritime boundaries are a modern invention of international law, which is itself constantly (if usually slowly) evolving, legal factors are central to understanding the causal mechanisms behind dispute settlement. We may surmise that the legal factors - the effects of international law and the legal aspects of how disputes stand vis-à-vis each other - are highly influential in driving and, in other instances, obstructing the settlement of maritime boundary disputes between states (see Chapter 2). Which legal factors, however, will depend on the context of the boundary itself regarding international law and the other boundaries of the disputing states, as well as the origin of the boundary in question. At the same time, by utilising legal factors such as origin or precedent in explaining political outcomes, we can advance our understanding of these factors in relation to those outlined in the other sections.
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