The South China Sea Arbitration
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The South China Sea Arbitration

The Legal Dimension

Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman, Tara Davenport and Hao D. Phan

Bringing together leading experts on the law of the sea, this book provides a detailed analysis of the significant aspects, findings and legal reasoning in the high-profile case of the South China Sea Arbitration between the Philippines and China. It examines major issues discussed in the Arbitration including jurisdiction, procedure, maritime entitlement, and the protection of the marine environment. It also explores the implications of the case for the South China Sea disputes and dispute settlement under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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Chapter 2: Jurisdictional issues in the South China Sea Arbitration

Robert Beckman


On 22 January 2013, the Philippines initiated compulsory arbitration against China under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with respect to its disputes with China over maritime rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea. The Arbitral Tribunal issued its Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility on 29 October 2015 and its Final Award on 12 July 2016. This chapter focuses on the issues of jurisdiction in the case. It reviews the positions of China and the Philippines and the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal on jurisdiction. It looks into the procedural preconditions for compulsory dispute settlement entailing binding decisions provided in UNCLOS. It examines the nature of the disputes and the application of UNCLOS. It analyses jurisdictional issues which were resolved in the jurisdictional phase and issues which were resolved together with the merits. The chapter ends with a few concluding remarks on the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal on jurisdiction.

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