Research Handbook on Territorial Disputes in International Law
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Research Handbook on Territorial Disputes in International Law

Edited by Marcelo G. Kohen and Mamadou Hébié

Despite globalization and the increasingly transnational character of human activities, territorial disputes remain a significant source of tensions in international relations and constitute a large share of inter-state cases brought before international tribunals and courts. The Research Handbook on Territorial Disputes in International Law analyses the concepts, technical rules, and norms applicable to territorial disputes.
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Chapter 4: Titles and effectivités in territorial disputes

Marcelo G. Kohen


This chapter reviews the different types of titles to territory, focusing on those relating to territorial sovereignty. It discusses some doctrinal theories that have been controversial, such as the historical consolidation of titles and acquisitive prescription. It follows a discussion on the content and scope of the exercise of state authority over a territory, known by the French term effectivités. It concludes with an analysis of the relationship between titles and effectivités. A table summarizing the titles of territorial sovereignty is appended to this chapter.

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